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Tech Industry

THE DAY AHEAD: Stocks to Watch

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Amazon.com, Jabil Circuit and Oracle.

  • Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)

    Those big thinkers over at Amazon.com are at again.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the online retailer will invest $45 million to buy a 1.7 percent stake in Sotheby's Holdings Inc. (NYSE: BID) and will team up to create a jointly run auction service.

    Details of the project are due to be announced at a news conference on Wednesday morning, the paper said. Amazon chief executive officer Jeff Bezos was meeting in New York on Tuesday with Sotheby's officials to hammer out details of the alliance.

    Company officials say the new collaboration will sell items such as rare coins and books, top-tier sports memorabilia and collectibles.

    Bezos said Amazon is buying one million shares of Sotheby's class A stock for about $35 million, in line with current market prices of about $35 a share, the Journal reported. Amazon is also paying $10 million for a three-year warrant that would let it buy a further one million shares for $100 a share.

    Amazon.com shares closed up 4 1/2 to 96 1/2 Tuesday.

  • Jabil Circuit Inc. (NYSE: JBL)

    The circuit-board assembly maker will get roughed up Wednesday after it met analysts' estimates in its third quarter, earning $24.4 million, or 29 cents a share, on sales of $522.5 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to earn 29 cents a share in the quarter.

    Despite the stellar earnings, Jabil is concerned that the growth rates for the fourth quarter may be less than most analysts had expected due to last-minute design delays on new products from two customers.

    "The impact of these potential deferments could reduce expected fiscal fourth quarter revenue and earnings per share by as much as 10 percent from prior expectations," the company said in a release. "It is anticipated that any growth delays on these new products would be recovered in the fall."

    The $522.5 million in sales represents a 69 percent improvement versus the year-ago period when it raked in $17.3 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $309.6 million.

    Company officials said the delays could trim its fourth-quarter earnings and EPS by as much as 10 percent from analysts' current estimates.

    First Call consensus expects Jabil to earn $1.15 a share in the fiscal year.

    Twenty-three of the 26 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

  • Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)

    Well, brace yourself for a huge jump in Oracle shares Wednesday. In fact, the stock shot up to more than $29 a share in after-market trading from its close of 28 1/8.

    Why the excitement?

    Oracle easily topped Street estimates of 32 cents a share in its fourth-quarter, pocketing $527 million, or 36 cents a share, on sales of $2.9 billion.

    That was a 22 percent jump versus the year-ago period when it made $403 million, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $2.4 billion.

    More important, company officials said it expects those strong sales to continue well into fiscal 2000.

    "We don't see anything that will lead us to believe that anything is slowing down," Oracle CFO Jeff Henley said during a conference call with analysts. "The pipeline looks good and it looks strong at this point."

    Oracle executives were also pleased with the continued strength in databases. The company cited database research from Dataquest showing Oracle with 61.1 percent of the Unix market and 47.3 percent of the Windows NT market.