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STOCKS TO WATCH: LookSmart, NetZero and Read-Rite

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: LookSmart, NetZero and Read-Rite.

  • LookSmart (Nasdaq: LOOK)

    LookSmart will be active after it posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter, losing $6.7 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $33.4 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the Internet directory services firm to lose 13 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 1.34, or 19 percent, to 8.41 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $33.4 million in sales marks a 151 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $17.3 million, or 32 cents a share, on sales of $13.3 million.

    Analysts are expecting it to lose 41 cents a share in the fiscal year.

  • NetZero (Nasdaq: NZRO)

    NetZero will be in for more rough trading Thursday after it posted a loss of $23.8 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $16.5 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to lose 25 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 0.41 to 1.88 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $16.5 million in sales marks a 113 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it dropped $13.7 million on sales of $7.7 million.

    However, NetZero posted a loss of $26 million, or 25 cents a share, on sales of $18.7 million in the fourth quarter.

    In the quarter, it added 800,000, bringing its total registered user base to 5.7 million, up 185 percent from the year-ago quarter.

    Despite the sequential revenue dip, CEO Mark Goldston said he was bullish that the free ISP will be the last one standing due to its strong cash position. About 33 percent of its advertisers were non dot-com customers.

    "Free Internet access is here to stay," he said during a conference call with analysts following the earnings report. "The market leader will be NetZero with $220 million in cash on the balance sheet."

  • Read-Rite (Nasdaq: RDRT)

    Read-Rite should move higher after it beat the Street in its fourth quarter and predicted a return to profitability by the first quarter of 2001.

    The disk drive head maker posted a loss of $16.1 million, or 25 cents a share, on sales of $146 million.

    Analysts were looking for a loss of 39 cents a share.

    Company officials said it was targeting gross margin percentage for the first quarter in the low teens and aimed to return to profitability in the first fiscal quarter of 2001.

    Read-Rite shares closed up 0.44 to 7.88 ahead of the earnings report.

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