Expect these technology stocks to be among the day's most active: Amazon, Ameritrade, Hewlett-Packard, Macromedia, The 3DO Company and Read-Rite.
The online retailer checked in with a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter Wednesday, losing $86 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $356 million. However, rising expenses will crimp profit margins in future quarters.
Ahead of the earnings report, Amazon.com shares closed off 5 5/16 to 75 15/16.
First Call consensus expected the online retailer and auction site to lose 28 cents a share in the quarter.
The $356 million in sales represents a 132 percent improvement compared to the year-ago quarter when it lost $24 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $154 million.
The company lost more than $9 million in the fourth quarter. After market close Wednesday, the online brokerage firm reported a fiscal fourth quarter net loss of $9.2 million, or 5 cents per share, including one-time expenses of $2.1 million, or a penny a share, related to Year 2000 computer projects and costs for a stock offering that was cancelled. Excluding those charges, Ameritrade lost 4 cents per share.
First Call's survey of 11 analysts predicted a loss of 5 cents per share. Ameritrade earned $5.8 million, or 3 cents per share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1998.
Shares plunged 9 5/8, or 13 percent, to 67 Wednesday after a slew of analysts cut their fourth-quarter and fiscal 1999 earnings estimates on concerns that its UNIX workstation business was struggling and corporate PC sales were lagging.
Although H-P didn't make a formal announcement, it did confirm late Wednesday that it had spoken individually to different analysts, telling them that weak North American server sales could weigh on results for the fourth quarter.
The company leapt past analyst estimates in the second quarter.
After market close Wednesday, the maker of publishing and multimedia software reported fiscal second quarter earnings of $8.9 million, or 19 cents per share, excluding non-recurring costs. Analyst consensus predicted the company would earn 15 cents per share.
Third quarter revenue increased to $68.3 million, more than double the $33.8 million in revenue for the year earlier period. Gross margin increased to 74 percent from 67 percent at the end of June.
The maker of game software easily beat analyst estimates in the second quarter; it saw fiscal second quarter loss of $5.9 million, or 18 cents per share. first Call's survey of two analysts had predicted a loss of 27 cents per share.
The company closed out a horrendous fiscal year with an enormous loss in its fourth quarter Wednesday, losing $80.1 million, or $1.61 a share, on sales of $105.4 million.
Its shares closed unchanged at $4 a share ahead of the earnings report.