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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Agere, Nortel, Palm

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Agere, Nortel and Palm.

  • Agere Systems (NYSE: AGR)

    Agere Systems will finally make its debut Wednesday after pricing its 600 million-share initial public offering at $6 a whack.

    The spin-off from Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) had the terms of its IPO restructured three times as the demand for new issues, particularly technology stocks, has waned in the wake of the market's nosedive.

    The maker of optical components and semiconductors sold the shares at the bottom of a $6 to $7 range, which was down from an original range of $16 to $19 a share in late February.

    The IPO raised $3.6 billion, well below the $7 billion Lucent was hoping to garner.

    Morgan Stanley Dean Witter is the lead underwriter for the deal, which has become the fourth biggest IPO in U.S. history. Agere will have a market value of $11.4 billion based on 1.635 billion shares outstanding.

  • Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT)

    It's gone from bad to worse for Nortel Networks.

    The network-equipment maker warned after the bell Tuesday that it will miss its own revised estimates for the quarter and that it will lay off another 5,000 workers.

    Company executives told analysts to expect a loss of between 10 cents and 12 cents a share in the quarter, down from its reduced estimates of a loss of 4 cents a share.

    It also implied that business conditions have deteriorated to the point where it's unable to forecast sales or earnings for the rest of 2001.

    Its shares closed off 16 cents to $16.76 ahead of the warning before falling to $14.70 in after-hours trading.

  • Palm (Nasdaq: PALM)

    Palm shares are going to take a beating Wednesday after the handheld computer maker topped analysts' estimates in its third quarter but drastically reduced its fourth-quarter targets and announced it will lay off 250 employees and contractors.

    Its shares closed up $1.06 to $15.50 ahead of the earnings report and warning before plunging to $10.03 in after-hours trading.

    In the third quarter, Palm earned $9.3 million, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $473.8 million.

    Analysts were expecting a profit of 1 cent a share.

    However, it told investors to brace themselves for a loss of 8 cents a share in its fourth quarter on sales of between $300 million to $315 million.

    First Call consensus was expecting a loss of only 3 cents a share on sales of $572 million.