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Tech Industry

THE WEEK AHEAD: Summertime blues

    Blue-chip and technology stocks made strong gains again this week after the Federal Reserve Board decided to leave short-term interest rates unchanged. Trading should be extremely light heading into the Labor Day weekend.

    For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 146 points to 11,192.63 while the Nasdaq shot up 112 points to 4,042.68.

    In a speech Friday, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said the high rates of productivity growth that have helped boost the U.S. economy's performance and hold down inflation show few signs of tapering off.

    "(The Fed) did exactly what I and I guess just about everyone else expected -- no change in rates and they maintained the inflation vigil," said Alfred Kugel, senior investment strategist at Stein, Roe & Farnham. "I think it's been so well discounted (in the stock market) I would actually worry a little bit that we'd have some selling on the good news. But general conditions at this point are quite positive for the stock market."

    On Friday, the Commerce Department reported that the nation's gross domestic product grew 5.3 percent in the second quarter, meeting economists expectations. In the first quarter, the economy grew at a 4.8 percent pace.

    The report's deflator index, closely-watched as a gauge of inflation, also came in as expected. The deflator for the second quarter was revised to 2.6 percent from 2.5 percent.

    "There was really no reaction to the data, the GDP was pretty much as expected ... and Mr. Greenspan's comments offered nothing of great interest," said Bill Meehan, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.

    With no significant earnings reports due out next week, it's time to take look back at the stellar earnings reports posted by prominent tech companies this week.

    VA Linux (Nasdaq: LNUX) posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter, losing $4 million, or 10 cents a share, on record sales of $50.7 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the maker of Linux-based operating system software to lose 15 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $50.7 million in sales marks a 547 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $7.9 million, or 34 cents a share, on sales of $7.8 million.

    Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, losing $8.2 million, or 4 cents a share.

    Robertson Stephens analyst Scott Appleby raised the company's fiscal 2001 earnings estimates from 71 cents a share to 82 cents a share. Appleby, who has a "buy" rating and a 12-month price target of $65 on the stock, said the results were well ahead of Robertson Stephens' expectations of a loss of 8 cents a share.

    Sycamore Networks (Nasdaq: SCMR) also beat the Street, earning $20.4 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $90.4 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 6 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $90.4 million in sales marks a 698 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $6.4 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $11.3 million.