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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Apple, Broadcom, Microsoft, Software.com and TI

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Apple, Broadcom, Microsoft, Software.com and Texas Instruments.

  • Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL)

    Apple shareholders are in for a long day Thursday after the PC maker missed analysts' reduced estimates in its fourth quarter and cut its outlook for 2001.

    In the quarter, it earned $108 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $1.87 billion.

    Analysts had lowered their consensus estimate to 31 cents a share from 45 cents a share following a profit warning earlier this quarter.

    CFO Fred Anderson said the company now expects just a "slight" profit on first quarter revenue of $1.6 billion, and full year earnings per share of $1.10 to $1.25 on revenue of $7.5 billion to $8 billion, approximately flat with 2000.

    Analysts were expecting earnings of 45 cents in the first quarter and $1.73 for the full year.

    The stock fell to 16.56 in after-hours trading after closing unchanged at 20.13 ahead of the earnings report.

  • Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM)

    Broadcom will be active after it beat the Street in its third quarter, earning $78.7 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $319.2 million.

    Analysts were expecting a profit of 24 cents a share.

    Ahead of the earnings report, Broadcom shares fell 14.88 to 209.38.

    The $319.2 million in sales marks a 129 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it earned $28.7 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $139.6 million.

  • Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)

    The software giant hit on all cylinders in its first quarter, earning $2.58 billion, or 46 cents a share, on sales of $5.8 billion.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected Microsoft to earn 41 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 1.31 to 51.75 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $5.8 billion in sales came in well above the consensus estimate of $5.69 billion.

    "Results were solid across all businesses, led by accelerating deployments of Windows 2000 Professional in the business sector and Windows Me in the consumer arena," said CFO John Connors in a prepared release. "While we remain guarded about worldwide economic conditions, we are extremely enthusiastic about our Windows 2000 generation of server products."

    Last quarter, Microsoft hurdled analysts' estimates, earning $2.41 billion, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $5.8 billion.

  • Software.com (Nasdaq: SWCM)

    Software.com should get a nice boost Thursday after it shattered analysts' estimates in its third quarter, earning $7.4 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $37.6 million.

    Analysts were expecting a profit of 3 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed off $18.13 to $133.13 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $37.6 million in sales marks a 196 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $2.8 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $12.7 million.

  • Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN)

    Although it met analysts' estimates in its third quarter, TI could be in for some rough trading Thursday.

    It did earn $591 million, or 33 cents a share, on sales of $3.16 billion in the quarter, in line with the consensus estimate.

    The $3.16 billion in sales marks a 25 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $453 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $2.52 billion.

    However, TI officials said fourth-quarter sales will only improve a few percentage points from the third quarter.

    It expects wireless sales will decline sequentially as certain major handset customers absorb semiconductor inventory in the fourth quarter, more than offsetting the continuing revenue growth in chipset and base-station products.