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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Altera, Avanex, Chartered Semi, Talk.com

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively-traded issues: Altera, Avanex, Chartered Semiconductor and Talk.com.

  • Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR)

    Altera shares may slump Wednesday after it warned that will miss analysts' estimates by a wide margin for the second consecutive quarter, blaming sluggish resale rates and an oversupply of inventory for the shortfall.

    The programmable logic-device maker told analysts it now expects its first-quarter sales to fall 20 percent from the $368 million it recorded in the fourth quarter.

    Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR) shares closed off $2.06 to $23.38 ahead of the warning before falling to $21.81 in after-hours trading.

    First Call Corp. consensus was expecting first-quarter sales of $412.6 million and earnings of 22 cents a share, meaning the San Jose, Calif.-based firm will miss analysts' top-line estimates by more than $110 million this quarter.

    Altera executives said resale rates, though improved from the end of last year, haven't accelerated and that new orders in February were slower than expected.

    The company did not provide any guidance on earnings for the quarter.

    Last quarter, Altera missed analysts' revised estimates when it posted a profit of $102.7 million, or 25 cents a share, on sales of $368 million.

  • Avanex (Nasdaq: AVNX)

    Avanex, a maker of photonic processors, on Tuesday revised its earnings and revenue forecasts for its fiscal third quarter and fiscal 2001, citing lower spending on certain systems.

    The Fremont, Calif.-based company said it expected to post third-quarter pro forma earnings per diluted share of 2 cents to 3 cents on sales of about $41 million.

    The consensus estimate for the quarter among analysts polled by First Call was earnings of 6 cents per share.

    For its fiscal year 2001, Avanex said, it expected to post pro forma earnings of 15 cents to 16 cents per share on revenues of about $169 million.

  • Chartered Semiconductor (Nasdaq: CHRT)

    Chartered Semiconductor will be on the decline Wednesday after it also warned of lower sales and earnings in its first quarter.

    The company now expects to lose between 22 cents and 24 cents a share in the quarter.

    Analysts were forecasting a profit of 5 cents a share in the quarter.

    Company executives also said it expects first-quarter sales to fall 35 percent from the fourth quarter rather than the 15 percent to 20 percent decline it had previously forecast.

    "While we had previously noted that economic conditions were impacting order rates, in recent weeks we have seen a more severe decline than anticipated," according to a company statement.

    Its shares fell $1.19 to $31.06 ahead of the warning before sliding to $27 in after-hours trading.

  • Talk.com (Nasdaq: TALK)

    The long-distance telephone service provider will be worth watching after it slipped past analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter and reiterated its 2001 sales target.

    In the quarter, it posted a loss of $21.4 million, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $135.1 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus pegged it for a loss of 28 cents a share.

    Company executives said it still expects 2001 sales to improve 20 percent and that it will become cash-flow positive in the first quarter.

    In the quarter, sales from local customers jumped to $34 million in the fourth quarter, about double the $17.3 million reported in the third quarter.

    The stock closed off 3 cents to $1.63 ahead of the earnings report.

    Reuters contributed to this report.