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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: AOL, Amazon.com, Ariba, Go2Net, Preview Travel, SGI and Skytel

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Amazon.com, AOL, Ariba, Go2Net, Preview Travel, Silicon Graphics and Skytel.

  • Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)

    Amazon.com met analysts' estimates in its second quarter Wednesday, posting a loss of $82.8 million, or 51 cents a share, on sales of $314.4 million. It also announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

    First Call consensus expected the online retailer to lose 51 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $314.4 million in sales represents a 171 percent jump versus the year-ago quarter when it lost $17 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of 116 million.

    Most analysts were predicting sales of $312 million in the quarter. Henry Blodget, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, was a bit more conservative, predicting sales of $309 million.

    Last quarter, Amazon.com lost $36.4 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $293.6 million.

    The 2-for-1 stock will take effect on Sept. 1 for all shareholders of record on Aug. 12. This marks the stock's first split since its 3-for-1 bonanza in January.

  • America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL)

    AOL easily hurdled analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter Wednesday, raking in $156 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $1.4 billion.

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

    The $1.4 billion in sales represents a 46 percent improvement versus the year-ago quarter when it earned $58 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $943 million.

    In the quarter, AOL added 755,000 new members, bringing its new customer total for the year to more than 5.1 million users. AOL now has more than 17.6 million subscribers.

    Though those growth figures are impressive, they fell a tad below most analysts' estimates of between 775,000 to 800,000 new subscribers.

    For the year, AOL made $396 million, or 34 cents a share, on sales of $4.8 billion compared to a profit of $59 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $3.1 billion in the fiscal 1998. Its advertising and e-commerce sales soared to $306 million, up 87% over fiscal 1998's fourth quarter.

  • Ariba Inc. (Nasdaq: ARBA)

    Ariba missed analysts' estimates by a mile Wednesday, losing $6 million, or 46 cents a share, on sales of $11.9 million in its third quarter.

    First Call consensus pegged the maker of business-to-business electronic commerce software for a loss of 30 cents a share in the quarter. The consensus was based on just a handful of brokers.

    Ariba shares closed up 11 to 121 ahead of the earnings report.

    In the year-ago quarter, it lost $2.6 million, or 42 cents a share, on sales of $9.4 million.

    "The strong revenue growth in the quarter was a result of extending our leading base of blue chip buyers," said CEO Keith Krach in a prepared release.

    After its dazzling initial public offering in June, the stock quickly surged as high as 138 1/16.

    The lone analyst covering the stock rates it a "buy."

    First Call consensus expects it to lose 78 cents a share in the fiscal year.

  • Go2Net Inc. (Nasdaq: GNET)

    Go2Net beat Street estimates by 2 cents a share in its third quarter Thursday, pocketing $3 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $5.7 million.

    Its shares closed up 1 5/16 to 77 _ ahead of the earnings report.

    First Call consensus expected the Seattle-based company to earn 5 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $5.7 million in sales represents a jump of 191 percent compared to the year-ago period when it lost $160,000, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $2 million.

    More impressive, gross profit margins improved to 79 percent versus 65.4 percent in the year-ago period.

    Earlier this quarter, Go2Net received a $300 million cash infusion from Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures.

    In the quarter, Go2Net's traffic jumped to 18.5 million page views per day in June, up 50 percent sequentially from the 12.3 million page views recorded in March.

    Go2Net shares hit an all-time high of 99 ? in April after falling to a low of 3 3/16 in September.

  • Preview Travel Inc. (Nasdaq: PTVL)

    Preview Travel easily topped analysts' estimates in its second quarter Wednesday, losing $7.4 million, or 54 cents a share, on sales of $7.3 million.

    First Call consensus expected the online travel agent to lose 64 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $7.3 million in sales marked a 131 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $5 million, or 39 cents a share, on sales of $3.1 million.

    The stock closed up 7/8 to 21 3/8 Wednesday.

  • Silicon Graphics Inc. (NYSE: SGI)

    The No. 4 maker of computer workstations blew past First Call's estimated loss of 5 cents a share with fourth quarter earnings of 12 cents a share. Profit from operations was cited as the reason SGI surpassed even unofficial estimates of a penny. SGI was unchanged at 16 at Wednesday's close.

  • SkyTel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: SKYT)

    The No. 2 U.S. paging provider reported second-quarter net income rose to 8 cents a share, beating the 6-cent average estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call. The company has also agreed to be bought by MCI WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOM), and has said the Justice Department had approved the acquisition. SkyTel rose 7/16 to 21 13/16.