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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: E-Tek Dynamics, Compaq, Hoover&#039s, Intel, Motorola and Seagate

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: E-Tek Dynamics, Hoover's, Linear Technology, Intel, Motorola and Seagate.

  • E-Tek Dynamics Inc. (Nasdaq: ETEK)

    E-Tek Dynamics topped Street estimates by 3 cents a share in its first quarter, earning $6.6 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $60.3 million.

    First Call consensus expected the maker of fiber optic components and modules for optical networks to earn 14 cents a share in the quarter.

    E-Tek shares closed up 3 1/4 to 67 1/4 ahead of the earnings report.

    In the year-ago quarter, E-Tek earned $5.2 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $33 million.

  • Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ):

    Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia denied reports that he's buying shares of the biggest maker of personal computers. Shares of Compaq rose 6 percent after a message on the Jagnotes.com Internet site said the prince was buying shares. The message was followed by a Dow Jones wire service report citing unnamed sources. A spokesman for Alwaleed denied the reports. Compaq rose 1 5/16 to 23 3/16 at Tuesday's close.

  • Hoover's Inc. (Nasdaq: HOOV)

    Hoover's posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its second quarter Tuesday, losing $3.3 million, or 29 cents a share, on sales of $3.8 million.

    First Call consensus expected the online business information provider to lose 39 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed off 3/8 to 10 13/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    In the year-ago quarter, it lost $903,000, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $2.1 million.

    Company officials said its advertising sales jumped a staggering 476 percent increase in the quarter while its total subscriptions revenue rose 65 percent.

  • Linear Technology Corp. (Nasdaq: LLTC)

    Linear Technology also pushed past analysts' estimates in its first quarter, raking in $58.4 million, or 36 cents a share, on sales of $147.5 million.

    First Call consensus expected the semiconductor manufacturer to earn 35 cents a share in the quarter.

    The stock closed off 1 25/32 to 58 1/2 ahead of the earnings report.

    In the year-ago quarter, it earned $44.3 million, or 28 cents a share, on sales of $116 million.

  • Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)

    Intel shares will be hopping Wednesday after the chipmaker fell short of analysts' estimates for the second consecutive quarter.

    Intel reported net income of $1.9 billion, or 55 cents per share, not counting acquisition costs. First Call's survey of 23 analysts predicted a profit of 57 cents per share for the September quarter.

    The company also missed analyst forecasts in the second quarter.

    Third quarter revenue rose 9 percent year-over-year and sequentially, to $7.3 billion, within range of analyst expectations and slightly higher than the company's own expectations. Excluding revenue from acquired companies, Intel's sales increased 7 percent.

    Intel expected gross margin to rise slightly in the third quarter, but falling chip prices caused margins to fall instead, company executives said during a conference call with analysts. Average selling prices for chips have been falling since last year, although the decline slowed "considerably" in the third quarter, said Paul Otellini, general manager of the Intel Architecture Business Group.

    The company also underestimated the impact of delaying the introduction of faster chips based on smaller 0.18 micron line widths. Intel also saw increased costs for new fabs based on 0.18 micron.

    Those delays, executives said, will benefit Intel in the December quarter because because 0.18 micron chips turned out to have per-unit manufacturing costs than expected. "We think we have a better cost story and a better product story going into the fourth quarter than going into the third quarter," Intel CFO Andy Bryant said.

    Recent setbacks with new chipsets will not hurt shipments of 0.18 micron chips, because Intel already has compatible chipsets for those processors, Otellini said.

    Gross margin will be a couple of points higher in the fourth quarter, Bryant said. The chipmaker predicted "seasonally strong" fourth quarter sales. Revenue will be higher sequentially in the fourth, Intel said.

    Although executives said the full effects of Taiwan's recent earthquake aren't known yet, customers haven't asked Intel to do anything differently because of the quake, Otellini said. "At this point, we believe our supply of materials from Taiwan-based manufacturers has not been impacted," he said.

  • Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)

    Motorola met analysts' estimates in its third quarter Tuesday, raking in $332 million, or 53 cents a share, on sales of $7.7 billion. Its shares closed off 1 11/16 to 67 1/8 ahead of the earnings report.

    First Call consensus pegged the semiconductor manufacturer for a profit of 53 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $7.7 billion in sales represents a 7 percent improvement compared to the year-ago period when it made $40 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $7.2 billion.

    "These strong improvements in our financial operating performance are a result of significant sales growth in digital wireless phones and a focused repositioning and restructuring of our semiconductor and digital communications businesses over the last year," said COO Robert Growney in a prepared release.

    In the quarter, Motorola reported special items resulting in a net charge of $344 million pre-tax, or 39 cents per share after-tax.

    Last quarter, Motorola snuck past analysts' estimates, earning $273 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $7.5 billion.

    Sales of the company's personal communications business, which includes wireless telephones, surged 37 percent to $3.1 billion and orders improved 67 percent to $4.3 billion. The segment posted a profit of $140 million compared to a loss of $55 million in the year-ago period.

    Motorola shares hustled up to a high of 101 1/2 in September after falling to a low of 44 7/16 last October.

    Twenty-seven of the 35 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

    First Call consensus expects it to earn $2.04 a share in the fiscal year.

  • Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: SEG)

    Seagate topped lowered estimates in its first quarter Tuesday, earning $2 million, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $1.68 billion. Its shares closed off 3/8 to 31 3/8 ahead of the earnings report.

    First Call consensus pegged Seagate for a loss of 7 cents a share in the quarter.

    In early September, Seagate announced it would layoff 10 percent of its workforce and take a one-time charge of $200 million.

    However, it only absorbed a charge of $112 million related to its restructuring along with a charge of $102 million from its acquisition of Veritas Software Corp.

    Excluding the restructuring charge, the other charges related to its investment in Veritas and the gain on sale of Veritas stock, the pro forma diluted net income per share was 7 cents a share.

    The $1.68 billion in sales represents a modest improvement versus the year-ago quarter when it lost $30 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $1.55 billion.

    Seagate also announced that it bought back 21.3 million shares of its common stock from around $639 million in the quarter.