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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: About.com, eMachines, EDS, Microsoft and NetZero

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: About.com, Inprise/Borland, eMachines, EDS and NetZero.

  • About.com Inc. (Nasdaq: BOUT)

    About.com should catch fire Friday after it easily topped analysts' estimates in its first quarter, posting a loss of $7.5 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $15.8 million.

    As if that weren't enough good news for investors, company officials told Wall Street that it expects to turn a profit in the second quarter of 2001.

    Previously, analysts had expected the network of comprehensive vertical sites for users and marketers to turn a profit by the fourth quarter of 2001.

    A survey of analysts' by First Call Corp. predicted About.com (Nasdaq: BOUT) would lose 58 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed off 3 1/2 to 29 1/2 ahead of the earnings report.

  • eMachines Inc. (Nasdaq: EEEE)

    eMachines might get a second look Friday after it topped analysts' estimates in its first quarter as a publicly traded company.

    The PC maker posted a profit of $737,000, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $249.8 million.

    Analysts were looking for a loss of 5 cents a share.

    PC revenue rose to $246.4 million as the company shipped 521,000 units. Gross margin on PCs was 4.7 percent. eMachines' average gross selling price rose 15 percent year-over-year, thanks to sales of notebook computers and higher-end desktop PCs.

    Its shares closed up 1 1/16 to 6 3/16 ahead of the earnings report.

  • Inprise/Borland Corp. (Nasdaq:INPR) Internet software provider Inprise/Borland said it had asked its financial adviser for an updated opinion on the fairness of the exchange ratio for its pending acquisition by Canadian software developer Corel Corp.(Nasdaq:CORL)

    Earlier this year, Inprise/Borland agreed to a deal to exchange each of its shares for 0.747 of a Corel common share.

    Inprise/Borland said it made the request after taking into account Corel's first quarter financial results and statements regarding its cash position. Corel reported a net first-quarter loss of $12.4 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $44.1 million.

    Earlier this month, Investor Management Insights Inc. sued to block the proposed merger, calling the deal inadequate.

  • Electronic Data Systems (NYSE: EDS)

    EDS met analysts' estimates in its first quarter Thursday, posting a profit of 47 cents a share on sales of $4.5 billion.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 47 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 5/16 to 72 1/2 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $4.5 billion in sales marks a 5 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it made 36 cents a share on sales of $4.3 billion.

    Company officials said contract signings were $4.5 billion, the fifth straight quarter of record signings, and 50 percent higher than the quarter a year ago.

    In the quarter, EDS also recognized a net pre-tax gain of $97.6 million, or 13 cents a share, resulting from the sale of certain e-business investments. Including this gain, net income was $288.9 million and diluted earnings per share were 60 cents a share.

  • Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)

    The antitrust case against software giant Microsoft is set to take another twist on Friday.

    The Justice Department and U.S. states on Friday will urge a federal judge to invoke a rarely used power under the nation's antitrust laws and split up Microsoft, aiming to end its abuse of monopoly power.

    The government proposal would split Microsoft into one company that manufactures operating systems and a second that makes everything else -- in particular, the Microsoft Web browser, sources close to the case said.

    Microsoft has promised to appeal the judge's ruling.

  • NetZero Inc. (Nasdaq: NZRO)

    NetZero should see some activity after it posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter, dropping $24.9 million, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $16.9 million.

    A survey of analysts by First Call Corp. predicted it would lose 30 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed off 3/4 to 12 1/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $16.9 million in sales represents a stunning 2,059 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $5.1 million, or 50 cents a share, on sales of $781,000.

    In the quarter, NetZero added more than 1 million registered users, bringing its total registered-user base to more than 4 million.

    Of those registered users, more than 1.8 million users accessed NetZero's service during the month of March.

    Total advertising impressions delivered in the quarter were 6.4 billion, or a daily average of 70 million impressions, up 27 percent increase from 55 million impressions in the second quarter.