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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Intuit, Novell and Portal Software

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Intuit, Novell and Portal Software.

  • Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU)

    Intuit easily topped analysts' estimates in its first quarter, losing $21.4 million, or 10 cents a share, on sales of $187.5 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to lose 16 cents a share in the quarter.

    Intuit shares finished off $5.19 to $48.19 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $187.5 million in sales topped most analysts' estimates by $2 million and represents a 6 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it posted a net loss of $65.9, or 33 cents a share, on sales of $176.9 million.

    Including a variety of charges, Intuit posted a net loss of $33.8 million, or 16 cents a share.

    Company officials said it expects sales of between $1.32 billion to $1.34 billion in the fiscal year, up 22 percent from fiscal 2000.

    It sees operating income growing to between $202 million to $208 million and operating margins in the 15-percent range.

  • Portal Software (Nasdaq: PRSF)

    Portal doubled the Street estimate in its third quarter, posting a profit of $7 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $72 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the Internet software developer to earn 2 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed off 63 cents to $18.63 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $72 million in sales marks a 157 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $1.7 million, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $28.1 million.

    Last quarter, Portal Software topped analysts' estimates when it posted a profit of $5.6 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $64.5 million.

  • Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL)

    Novell will be active after it met analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter by breaking even on a per-share basis on sales of $273 million.

    Its shares finished off 9 cents to $7.44 ahead of the earnings report.

    In the year-ago quarter, it earned 17 cents a share on sales of $344.5 million.

    Company officials said packaged software sales fell faster than growth in new Net services.

    Including a $48 million restructuring charge due to Novell's layoff of 900 employees, or 16 percent of its workforce, in September, the company lost 11 cents a share in the quarter.