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THE DAY AHEAD: Stocks to Watch

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Alloy, Active Voice, ACTV, 8x8, Iridium, Merisel, Mpath Interactive, Oracle and Pegasystems.

  • Alloy Online Inc. (Nasdaq: ALOY)

    The Web portal for kids between 10 and 24, or "Generation Y," priced its 3.7 million share IPO at $15 a share, above the revised $12 to $14 range. The initial range was between $10 a share and $12. BancBoston Robertson Stephens led the issue. Shares begin trading later today.

  • Active Voice Corp. (Nasdaq: ACVC)

    The voice-processing systems maker posted a narrower-than-expected fourth quarter loss of 25 cents a share. The First Call Corp. estimates was looking for a loss of 35 cents a share. Active Voice added 3/8 to 14 3/8.

  • ACTV Inc. (Nasdaq: IATV)

    BusinessWeek's "Inside the Street" column said that the digital TV and TV programming software company may attract more attention because of its interactive TV and e-commerce technology. Where might ACTV's assets fit? At Home's service could fit it in with its Excite property. Also, America Online is ramping up its TV business. And then there's USA Networks, which may still be looking to tie its TV business to the Web.

    A tangential question: What is Yahoo! doing while AOL runs amok in TV? Keep an eye on them. With all the set-top boxes being made, Yahoo! better find a way to get itself noticed on the boob tube.

    ACTV rose 1 3/16 to 15 15/16.

  • 8x8 Inc. (Nasdaq: EGHT)

    The chipmaker skipped past analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter Thursday despite a horrendous sales decline from the year-ago quarter. 8x8 shares closed up 5/16 to 4 9/16.

    The Santa Clara, Calif. company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $2.7 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $5.5 million.

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

    Despite the better-than-expected results, 8x8 still watched its sales plummet 55 percent versus the year-ago quarter when it made $82,000, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $12.1 million.

  • Iridium Inc. (Nasdaq: IRID)

    The global satellite network company said it can't meet its covenants on $800 million in debt by the May 31 deadline. Iridium hired Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette to renegotiate the terms. Shares rose 1/4 to 14 1/2.

  • Merisel Inc. (Nasdaq: MSEL)

    The PC distributor took a first quarter charge of $21 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit. Operating income fell to a penny a share for the quarter, though Wall Street had expected a loss of a cent a share. Merisel dipped 3/32 to 2 11/32.

  • Mpath Interactive Inc. (Nasdaq: MPTH)

    Mpath reported a first-quarter loss of $6 million, or $1.89 a share, on sales of $2.1 million Thursday, a tad wider than the loss it absorbed in the year-ago quarter.

    Mpath shares closed up 5 5/8, or 19 percent, to 34 3/4 ahead of the earnings report.

    There was no First Call consensus estimate for Mpath's first quarter.

    Since its sizzling initial public offering in April, Mpath shares have followed the pattern of so many other Internet stocks, losing more than half their value in less than two weeks. It did, however, raise more than $70 million from the offering.

    Mpath shares moved up to a high of 51 1/4 shortly after the IPO before falling to a low of 24 3/4 earlier this week.

  • Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)

    Wall Street's worried about Oracle, the world's largest database software maker. On Thursday, the stock plunged 2 5/8, or 9 percent, to 23 on concerns that it will preannounce lower-than-expected sales and earnings in its fourth quarter.

    While company officials met with analysts Thursday night, Oracle made it clear that it has no intention of discussing its financial results and would offer no further guidance on its fourth quarter outlook.

    First Call consensus expects the Redwood City, Calif. company to earn 33 cents a share in the quarter, up from the 27 cents a share it made in the year-ago quarter.

    An Oracle spokesman also said COO Raymond Layne would not be resigning as some had suggested.

    More than 40 million shares of Oracle changed hands Thursday.

    At this point, it's a matter of guts. Do you think Oracle is fine or do you believe the rumblings?

  • Pegasystems Inc. (Nasdaq: PEGA)

    The software developer figures to get some action Friday after announcing that America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) will use its software for the automating inbound customer care requests and billing issues.

    Pegasystems shares closed up 3/16 to 5 1/32 Thursday.

    It may not be the blockbuster deal of the week, but any association with AOL can only benefit Pegasystems' investors.

    The stock wilted to a 52-week low of 3 7/16 in April after peaking at 31 7/8 last July. That's a pretty dramatic drop and this deal could be a start of a new beginning.

    However, all four analysts following the stock rate it a "hold." Then again, what else could you rate a stock that's fallen so far so fast?

    -Eric C. Fleming contributed to this report.

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