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STOCKS TO WATCH: Altera, Cobalt, Marimba and Novellus

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: Altera, Cobalt Networks, Marimba and Novellus Systems.

  • Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR)

    Hard to say how investors will react to Altera's third-quarter results Tuesday.

    In the quarter, it earned $118 million, or 28 cents a share, on sales of $395.4 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the programmable logic device maker to earn 28 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed off 0.50 cents to 32.44 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $395.4 million in sales marks an 84 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $55.6 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $215.1 million.

    Earlier this month, Altera shares went into a nosedive after a pair of brokerage firms downgraded the stock and lowered their fiscal 2000 sales estimates.

  • Cobalt Networks (Nasdaq: COBT)

    Cobalt should move higher after it hurdled analysts' estimates in its third quarter, losing $1.2 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $20.4 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to lose 6 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 1.44 to 56.19.

    The $20.4 million in sales marks a 229 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $4.2 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $6.2 million.

    "We are pleased with our performance this quarter and our company's growth and development in the year since our IPO," said CEO Stephen DeWitt in a prepared release. "In our view, our performance and sales growth affirm the vitality of the server appliance market and business model."

    Cobalt shares moved up to a 52-week high of 172 in November before falling to a low of 25 in March.

  • Marimba (Nasdaq: MRBA)

    Marimba figures to slide Tuesday after it missed analysts' reduced estimates in its third quarter, posting a loss of $3.6 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $10.1 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the software developer to lose 14 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares added 0.38 to 6.13 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $10.1 million in sales marks a 21 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $164,000, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $8.3 million.

    Earlier this month, Marimba shares plunged to a 52-week low of 4.25 after warning that it would miss analysts' sales and earnings estimates this quarter.

    At the time, Marimba said it would post sales of between $10 million to $10.2 million and a loss of between 13 cents to 17 cents a share in the quarter.

    First Call Corp. consensus was looking for a profit of 4 cents a share in the quarter.

  • Novellus Systems (Nasdaq: NVLS)

    Novellus should be active Tuesday after it met analysts' estimates in its third quarter, earning $85.3 million, or 62 cents a share, on sales of $359.1 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 62 cents a share in the quarter.

    Ahead of the earnings report, its shares closed off 6 to 34.50.

    The $359.1 million in sales marks a 132 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $21.8 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $154.9 million.

    Last quarter, Novellus beat the Street when it posted a profit of $75.7 million, or 56 cents a share, on sales of $326 million.

    Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 70.25 in March after falling to a low of 22.63 last October.