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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Agilent, Alteon, AOL, Inktomi and Sun

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Agilent, Alteon WebSystems, AOL, Inktomi and Sun Microsystems.

  • Agilent (NYSE: A)

    Agilent shares will be worth watching after it warned that its third-quarter sales and earnings will fall well short of analysts' estimates.

    Its shares plunged more than 25 percent in after-hours trading, falling 19 to 54.

    The Palo-Alto-based spin-off of computer giant Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP) said that it will likely report quarterly earnings of 18 to 22 cents a share. In the year-ago period, Agilent earned 36 cents per share.

    Revenue will also likely fall below expectations, the company said.

    Agilent said it is seeing an unprecedented demand for its products and services, particularly in the communications marketplace, but parts shortages and capacity constraints are hampering shipments from keeping pace with incoming orders.

  • Alteon WebSystems (Nasdaq: ATON)

    Alteon WebSystems should take off after it plowed past analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, earning $7.4 million, or 16 cents a share, on record sales of $51.5 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 3 cents a share in the quarter.

    Ahead of the earnings report, Alteon shares stormed up 17 3/16 to 134 5/16.

    The $55.1 million in sales represents a 555 percent explosion compared to the year-ago quarter when it lost $3.9 million, or 45 cents a share, on sales of $7.9 million.

    Separately, it announced it will swap $221 million worth of stock to buy Pharsalia Technologies, a privately held developer of content delivery technology.

  • America Online (NYSE: AOL)

    AOL shares should move higher Friday after it topped Street estimates in its fourth quarter.

    In the quarter, it earned $334 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $1.9 billion.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the world's largest online service provider to earn 11 cents a share in the quarter.

    Ahead of the earnings report, its shares closed up 2 1/4 to 61 5/8.

    The $1.9 billion in sales marks a 39 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $155 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $1.4 billion.

    For the fiscal year, AOL raked in $1 billion, or 40 cents a share, on sales of $6.9 billion, up from a profit of $391 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $4.8 billion in fiscal 1999.

    In the quarter, advertising and commerce sales jumped 95 percent from the year-ago quarter to $609 million. For the year, those segments accounted for $2 billion in sales.

  • Inktomi (Nasdaq: INKT)

    Inktomi doubled the Street estimates in its third quarter Thursday, posting a profit of $4.5 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $61.5 million.

    First Call Corp. predicted the Internet software developer would earn 2 cents a share in the quarter.

    Inktomi shares closed up 6 3/8 to 129 7/16.

    The $61.5 million in sales marks a 202 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $7.7 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $20.3 million.

    Company officials said its network products business contributed $43.1 million in sales, more than triple what it generated last year. Its portal service businesses, consisting of its search and commerce engines, generated $18.4 million in sales, more than double last year.

  • Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW)

    Sun will be on the move Friday after it easily topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter and raised its revenue estimates for fiscal 2001.

    In the quarter, Sun earned $659.5 million, or 39 cents a share, on sales of $5 billion.

    Analysts were expecting a profit of 33 cents a share in the quarter.

    Company officials said it now sees annual revenue growth "pushing" 30 percent in fiscal 2001, with especially strong growth in the first half, CFO Michael Lehman said in a conference call with analysts. Sun previously expected 25 percent revenue growth in 2001.

    Its shares closed up 4 1/8 to 98 ahead of the earnings report.