Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Applied Materials, Niku and Tellabs.
Applied Materials will be on the move after it topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, earning $664 million, or 77 cents a share, on sales of $2.92 billion.
First Call Corp. consensus expected the chip-equipment maker to earn 76 cents a share in the quarter.
Its shares moved up $1.31 to $42.75 ahead of the earnings report.
The $2.92 billion in sales marks an 81 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $303 million, or 37 cents a share, on sales of $1.61 billion.
For the fiscal year, Applied Materials raked in $2.05 billion, or $2.39 a share, on sales of $9.56 billion compared to a profit of $757 million, or 92 cents a share, on sales of $5.1 billion in fiscal 1999.
In the quarter, Applied recorded $3.6 billion in new orders, up 10 percent from the third quarter and 113 percent from the year-ago quarter.
Niku will be active after it beat the Street in its third quarter when it reported a loss of $16.9 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $21 million.
First Call Corp. consensus expected the Internet software and services provider to lose 29 cents a share in the quarter.
Its shares closed off 94 cents to $15.75 ahead of the earnings report.
In the year-ago quarter, Niku posted a loss of $5.2 million, or 85 cents a share, on sales of $2 million.
In the quarter licensing sales improved to $12 million, up 33 percent from the second quarter. Services and marketplace sales jumped to $7.8 million and $1.2 million, up 178 percent and 71 percent, respectively, from the previous quarter.
Tellabs will be worth watching after announcing late Wednesday that it had signed a multi-year agreement with Beijing Bell Telecommunication Equipment Manufacturing Co. Ltd. to sell its next-generation switching products in China.
The company said the agreement with the Chinese telecommunications equipment firm covers the purchase, sale and support for its SALIX 7000 next-generation switching systems. The first SALIX 7000 switching systems have already been shipped to China and will begin extensive trials this month.
SALIX 7000 products enable service providers to integrate local, long-distance, wireless and data services with telecommunications networks.
Beijing Bell is jointly owned by China Railway Communication Signal Corp., Shanghai Bell Telephone Equipment Manufacturing Co. Ltd. and SBB.
Tellabs shares closed up $1.13 to $56.69.