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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Ariba, First Data, Motorola, Rational and Three-Five Systems

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Ariba, First Data, Motorola, Rational Software and Three-Five Systems.

  • Ariba (Nasdaq: ARBA)

    Ariba shares will move higher Thursday after the company topped Street estimates in its third quarter, losing $11.3 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $80.7 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the B2B software and services provider to lose 8 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 12 3/8 to 103 1/2 Wednesday but moved up to 116 in after-hours trading.

    The $80.7 million in sales marks a stunning 578 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $6 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $11.9 million.

    Most analysts are predicting revenue between $47 million to $49.7 million.

    Last quarter, Ariba topped Street estimates when it posted a loss of $11.5 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $40 million.

  • First Data (NYSE: FDC)

    First Data also beat the Street in its second quarter, posting a profit of $218 million, or 52 cents a share, on sales of $1.38 billion.

    First Call Corp. consensus pegged it for a profit of 47 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $1.38 billion in sales marks a one percent dip from the year-ago quarter when it earned $178 million, or 42 cents a share, on sales of $1.4 billion.

    "Our attention to profitable growth, cost management and execution of our core strategies have delivered another quarter of 20 percent or greater earnings per share growth," said CEO Ric Duques in a prepared release. "Based on our strong performance in the first half of the year, we are raising our expectations of earnings per share in 2000 to a range of $2.02 to $2.07."

    Its shares closed up 1 7/16 to 51 ahead of the earnings report.

  • Motorola (NYSE: MOT)

    Motorola could be on the decline Thursday even though it met analysts' reduced estimates in its second quarter Wednesday, raking in $515 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $9.3 billion.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 23 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 2 1/16 to 35 5/8 but fell 2 3/8 in after-hours trading.

    The $9.3 billion in sales marks a 22 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it earned $269 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $7.6 billion.

    Motorola's personal communications and semiconductor sales checked in at $3.4 billion and $2 billion, respectively, slightly below most analysts' estimates.

  • Rational Software (Nasdaq: RATL)

    Rational share will be worth watching after it easily beat analysts' estimates in its first quarter and set a 2-for-1 stock split.

    In the quarter, it made $26.9 million, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $170.3 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus pegged the e-business software developer for a profit of 22 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 11/32 to 92 11/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $170.3 million in sales marks a 45 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $14.7 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $117.4 million.

    Its shares peaked at 105 in March after falling to a 52-week low of 26 3/8 in August.

    Nine of the 10 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

  • Three-Five Systems (NYSE: TFS)

    Three-Five could move higher after it rolled past analysts' estimates in its second quarter, turning a profit of $4.4 million, or 21 cents a share, on sales of $44.9 million.

    Its shares closed off 1 1/8 to 63 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $44.9 million in sales marks a 42 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it earned $1 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $31.6 million.

    Three-Five shares hit a 52-week high of 82 1/2 in March.