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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

Roundup: Ameritrade, McAfee.com, Electronics for Imaging top estimates

Ameritrade Holding (Nasdaq: AMTD) posted a smaller-than-expected loss for the fiscal first quarter.

After market close Wednesday, the online brokerage said it lost $16.1 million, or 9 cents a share, in the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, excluding charges, compared with a profit of $3.7 million, or 2 cents a share in the year-ago period. Including a $5.6 million after-tax investment in its new OnMoney unit, the company reported a loss of 12 cents a share.

Analysts' consensus estimate was a loss of 12 cents a share according to First Call.

First quarter revenues rose to $110.8 million from $52.1 million a year ago. The company credited aggressive advertising for the boost.

Ameritrade had recently launched a $200 million advertising campaign with the aim of tripling its account base to 1.5 million customers.

The company said it added 134,000 accounts in the first quarter, bringing the number of core discount brokerage accounts to 686,000. The company said it processed 81,000 trades a day in the quarter, a 142 percent increase from last year's 33,500 trades a day. Last quarter, Ameritrade processed 53,102 trades a day.

Customer assets totaled $31.6 billion at the quarter's end, compared with $22.9 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter of 1999.

Shares of Ameritrade traded at 20 15/16 in afterhours activity. The stock closed Wednesdsay's regular session at 20 11/16, down 1/4 for the session. Among 13 analysts surveyed by Zack's Investment Research, eight maintain the equivalent of a "hold" rating on Ameritrade, and five have "moderate buy" advisories on the stock.

Other companies reporting quarterly results:

  • Legato Systems
  • (Nasdaq: LGTO) missed analyst expectations by a wide margin in the fourth quarter.

    The maker of storage management software reported net income of $9.9 million, or 11 cents per share, excluding merger-related costs. First Call's survey of 19 analysts predicted a profit of 19 cents per share for the December quarter.

    Executives blamed the shortfall on a decision to take two contracts signed during the quarter and recognize them in 2000 instead, on the recommendation of auditors. The decision wasn't made until the last few days of the quarter, the company said.

    Fourth quarter revenue increased 47 percent year-over-year, to $71.2 millino from $48.5 million.

    Legato also followed auditors' recommendation to restate third quarter results to reflect one contract adjustment that lowered revenue in that quarter to $65.9 million from $71.7 million. The revenue will be recorded in the first and second quarters of 2000 instead, Legato said. Third quarter earnings per share has also been restated to 14 cents per share, rather than the 18 cents previously reported.

    Full year revenue rose 55 percent to $251.1 million, from $161.8 million in 1998. Net income, excluding merger-related costs, rose to $43 million, or 48 cents per share, compared to $20.2 million, or 24 cents per share in 1998.

    The company expects revenue growth of 50 percent in 2000, with stronger growth in the second half.

  • Electronics for Imaging
  • (Nasdaq: EFII) boosted net income in the fourth quarter.

    The vendor of networking printing systems reported a fourth quarter profit of $25 million, or 44 cents per share, above analyst consensus of 42 cents. Revenue increased to $148 million, a 13 percent gain year-over-year.

    Full year revenue increased 28 percent to $571 million from $447 million in 1998. Net income for the year rose 98 percent to $95 million, or $1.67 per share, from $48 million, or 87 cents per share in the previous year.

  • McAfee.com
  • (Nasdaq: MCAF) reported a $6 million loss in its first quarterly report as a public copmany.

    The provider of online services for PC security, repair and maintenance reported a fourth quarter loss, excluding charges related to stock compensation, of 16 cents per share, beating First Call's consensus prediction of 20 cents. Revenue from the fourth quarter rose to $8.4 million from $2 million in the year-ago period.

    Revenue for the 1999 fiscal year was $24.5 million compared to $6.3 million a year ago, growth of 289 percent. Net losses excluding non-cash charges were $20.6 million, or 56 cents per share.

    McAfee.com's subscriber base increased to more than 200,000 in the quarter.>