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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Bell South, CMGI, eBay and Fatbrain.com

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Bell South, CMGI, eBay and Fatbrain.com.

  • BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS)

    The telephone company said it gained control of Celumovil SA (CELUM CB), Colombia's second-largest wireless telephone operator. BellSouth, through Celumovil, said it will also acquire Cali-based Cocelco SA for about $370 million.

    BellSouth was up 1 11/16 to 47 1/2 at Tuesday's bell.

  • CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI)

    CMGI should gain ground after it topped analysts' estimates in its third quarter, posting a loss of $428 million, or $1.53 a share, on sales of $225.9 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus pegged the Internet incubator and investment company for a loss of $1.83 a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 1/8 to 56 5/8 ahead of the report.

    The $225.9 million in sales represents a 417 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $27.8 million on sales of $43.7 million.

    Company officials said sales for its Internet business segment increased 1,600 percent compared with the third quarter of last year.

    Excluding a variety of charges, CMGI pocketed $36.6 million, or 13 cents a share, in the quarter.

    Last quarter, CMGI topped analysts' estimate, posting a profit of $1.3 million, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $153.5 million.

  • eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY)

    eBay will see increase activity after it said late Tuesday that it will acquire Half.com in a stock deal signaling the online auctioneer's first foray into a fixed-price business model.

    eBay said it will issue between 4.6 million and 5.5 million shares for all outstanding shares of Half.com.

    Half.com is a fixed-price person-to-person marketplace for previously owned products like books, CDs, games, DVDs and videos, with all items selling for at least half off the list price. The company has 250,000 registered users and 4 million items for sale.

    eBay said the all-stock acquisition will result in significant increases in operating expenses for the combined company for the next several quarters, but is expected to add to earnings in 2001.

    "Half.com's fixed-price format complements eBay's current business by giving our existing users new choices for trading," said CEO Meg Whitman in a prepared release. "Half.com will also attract a whole new group of buyers and sellers to the world's largest trading platform."

    The deal is expected to close sometime in the third quarter.

    eBay shares closed up 1 3/16 to 68 ahead of the announcement.

  • Fatbrain.com (Nasdaq: FATB)

    Fatbrain.com posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its first quarter and said it expects to reach profitability sometime in 2002.

    On a pro forma basis, it lost $8.5 million, or 65 cents a share, on sales of $14 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus predicted it would lose 88 cents a share in the quarter.

    Ahead of the earnings report, Fatbrain.com (Nasdaq: FATB) closed off 5/16 to 9 11/16.

    Earlier this quarter, Fatbrain.com advised Wall Street that its total sales would fall between $13.5 million and $14 million, slightly ahead of expectations.

    Online sales jumped to $12.1 million, up 170 percent from the $4.5 million it recorded in the year-ago period.

    In the year-ago quarter, the online retailer of training manuals and provider of information services posted a loss of $5.2 million, or 46 cents a share, on sales of $6.1 million.

    In the quarter, Fatbrain.com added 58,000 new customers, increasing its total customer base to more than 300,000. Online customer accounts increased 24 percent from the previous quarter, and repeat customer business represented 61 percent of order dollars placed.

    Including a variety of charges, Fatbrain.com lost $13 million, or $1 a share, in the quarter.