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STOCKS TO WATCH: Worldcom, ONI Systems, Semitool and Stamps.com

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Worldcom, ONI Systems, Semitool and Stamps.com.

  • Worldcom (Nasdaq: WCOM)

    Shares of Worldcom Inc. will be on the move Wednesday after the company announced a restructuring that will shave off its MCI business.

    The new MCI unit, which will be traded under the symbol MCIT, will encompass Worldcom's consumer, small business, wholesale long-distance voice and dial-up Internet access operations.

    Worldcom, which closed down 1.25 at 23.75, also issued guidance for the fourth quarter and the next fiscal year. The company now sees fourth quarter revenue growing 7 to 9 percent year over year, with the Worldcom business growing 12 to 14 percent and the MCI business essentially flat.

    Revenue growth for 2001 is expected to fall into similar ranges.

    Earnings per share for the fourth quarter are expected to be between 34 and 37 cents per share, with the Worldcom unit coming in at 27 to 30 cents per share and MCI earnings at 7 cents per share. First Call consensus was for a 49 cent per share profit.

  • ONI Systems (Nasdaq: ONIS)

    ONI Systems will be active Wednesday after it easily topped analysts' estimates in its third quarter, losing $16.2 million, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $16.4 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the maker of optical networking equipment to lose 18 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares shot up 11.06, or 16 percent, to 81.06 ahead of the earnings report.

    In the quarter, gross profit margins improved to 32.1 percent, up from 27.6 percent in the second quarter.

    Last quarter, ONI Systems beat the Street when it posted a loss of $20 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $9.5 million.

    Its shares raced up to a 52-week high of $142 in June before slipping to a low of $51.63 earlier this month.

  • Semitool (Nasdaq: SMTL)

    Semitool could move higher after it easily hurdled the Street estimate in its fourth quarter, raking in $8.6 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $70.7 million.

    Analysts expected the semiconductor-equipment maker to earn 27 cents a share in the quarter.

    The stock closed up 0.88 cents to 13.06 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $70.7 million in sales marks a 94 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $98,000 on sales of $36.5 million.

    For the fiscal year, Semitool pocketed $24.4 million, or 85 cents a share, on sales of $239.4 million.

  • Stamps.com (Nasdaq: STMP)

    Stamps.com made lots of news after the bell Tuesday when it posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter and named Bruce Coleman as its interim CEO.

    In the quarter, it posted a loss of $38.5 million, or 80 cents a share, on sales of $4.2 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to lose 85 cents a share in the quarter.

    The stock closed up 0.38 to 3.94 ahead of the earnings report.

    "We have taken aggressive steps to reduce expenses and focus on building a profitable business," Coleman said in a prepared release. "Although we have implemented some extensive reductions in headcount, we plan to continue to provide excellent customer support and integrated, easy-to-use Internet Postage service."

    The company said it expects to lower its quarterly cash burn through the recent reduction in its headcount, more focused marketing and other cost-cutting programs. The 40 percent reduction in headcount, roughly 240 employees, is expected to result in cost savings of approximately $30 million annually.

    Stamps.com expects to take an unspecified, one-time restructuring charge in the quarter. It also expects to cut its expected 2001 sales and marketing expenditures by half or more from current expectations.

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