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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Amazon, Microsoft, National Discount Brokers and 3Com

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Microsoft, National Discount Brokers and 3Com.

  • Amazon.com Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AMZN)

    Amazon's vice president for logistics, Jimmy Wright, retired at the age of 45 amid signs the company is having difficulty carrying out its ambitious warehouse-expansion strategy. According to the Wall Street Journal, Wright, a former logistics expert at Wal-Mart Stores, joined Amazon in July 1998 and was tapped for his skills to help Amazon build up its shipping and distribution operations.

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

    Microsoft told the Financial Times that it plans to offer its top-selling office software as a service on the Internet.

    The move comes just days after Microsoft rival, Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) announced plans to offer word processing, spreadsheets and other office applications on the Internet free of charge.

    "We certainly will have Web-based office productivity services, no doubt about it," the FT quoted Microsoft president Steve Ballmer as saying.

    Ballmer would not say when the services might be offered, and did not address the issue of whether Microsoft would charge for use of the programs, the FT said.

    The services would be based on Microsoft Office, the package of productivity programs which brought in 40 percent of the company's revenues last year.

    Microsoft shares closed off 9/16 to 91 13/16 Thursday.

  • National Discount Brokers Group Inc. (NYSE: NDB)

    Get ready for a bloodbath.

    National Discount Brokers said Thursday it expects first quarter income from continuing operations to be in the range of a profit of 2 cents a share to a loss of a penny a share, sharply lower than analysts' expectations.

    First Call consensus expected the online brokerage firm to earn 21 cents a share in the quarter.

    National Discount said revenues for the quarter would fall about four percent short of the $55 million analysts had expected.

    Including a gain from the sale of its former affiliate, Equitrade Partners, L.L.C., which occurred in June 1999, the company estimated net income between $1.26 and $1.23 per share for the quarter.

    National Discount said expenses are expected to be about nine percent greater than the analysts' estimates of about $48 million.

    The company attributed higher expenses to acceleration of expenses associated with NBD.com's advertising campaign, non-recurring write-offs of obsolete equipment and software to allow for upgrades at its subsidiaires, Sherwood Securities and NDB.Com, and clearing and related charges from increased transaction flow at Sherwood Securities.

  • 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS)

    Do you believe that Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) is really on the verge of snapping up yet another network-equipment maker?

    That's the rumor that sent 3Com shares up 2 5/16 to 27 1/16 Thursday.

    Maybe a little reality will set in Friday or at least some information to substantiate the rumor will surface.

    The takeover talk first began swirling Thursday on Jagnotes.com, a Web site that provides financial news, commentary and a "Rumor Room."

    Reuters contributed to this report.