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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Ask Jeeves, Computer Sciences, Compaq, Gadzoox, Pixar and Ticketmaster

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: Ask Jeeves, Computer Sciences, Compaq, Pixar and Ticketmaster-CitySearch.

  • Ask Jeeves Inc. (Nasdaq: ASKJ)

    Ask Jeeves will likely plummet Tuesday morning after the search engine site came up a penny short of analysts' estimates in its third quarter.

    On the bright side, it did manage to grow its total sales from $113,000 in the year-ago period to $6.5 million this quarter.

    The quirky search engine site posted a loss of $8.7 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $6.5 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to lose only 34 cents a share in the quarter.

    Ahead of the earnings report, Ask Jeeves shares closed off 5 to 78.

    In the year-ago period, it lost $918,000, or 9 cents a share, on sales of just $113,000.

    Last quarter, Ask Jeeves topped Street estimates when it lost $9 million, or 42 cents a share, on sales of $2.7 million.

    In the quarter, Ask Jeeves received 134 million questions at its site, up 46 percent from the 92 million queries it fielded in the second quarter.

  • Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC)

    Computer Sciences met analysts' estimates in its second quarter Monday, raking in $89.6 million, or 55 cents a share, on sales of $2.13 billion.

    First Call consensus pegged it for a profit of 55 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 11/16 to 60 3/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $2.13 billion in sales marks a 15 percent improvement compared to the year-ago quarter when it earned $73 million, or 45 cents a share, on sales of $1.88 billion.

    CSC shares peaked at 74 3/8 in July.

  • Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ)

    Compaq should be worth paying attention to Tuesday after it announced what may be a $20 billion deal with Micron Technology Inc. (NYSE: MU).

    Under terms of the deal, Micron will provide Compaq with vital memory components over the course of the next five years.

    Financial terms of the deal, which comes amid a worldwide shortage of memory chips, were not disclosed. But industry sources close to the deal put its value at up to $20 billion over five years.

    Spokesmen for both companies said it was difficult to put a value on the pact because of the volatility of memory chip pricing and declined to quantify its total worth.

    "We believe it is a multi-billion dollar deal,'' Micron spokeswoman Julie Nash told Reuters. ``It does represent a significant increase in the volume of memory that Compaq will be purchasing from us.''

    As of if that weren't enough, Compaq will announce its quarterly results Tuesday with First Call consensus expecting a profit of only 5 cents a share.

    Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Piper Jaffrey, said that while Compaq has done a terrible job of reducing expenses, it should meet or beat the Street estimate.

    "Management has built in low expectations for the September quarter, hoping to minimize the impact of any further negative news," Kumar said in a research note. "The ongoing challenges of getting cost under control with the additive factors of low employee morale and channel shifts minimizes the probability of an imminent reversal. The company continues to fall short of a responsive model. At its current pace of change it will be another four quarters before Compaq can transition from countering the market to initiating the charge."

    Its shares closed unchanged at 18 11/16 Monday.

  • Gadzoox Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ZOOX)

    The maker of equipment that links information-storage devices to computer systems said its second-quarter loss narrowed to 9 cents a share for the period ended Sept. 30 from 75 cents a year earlier. Gadzoox rose 2 3/4 to 60 3/8 at Monday's close.

  • Pixar Animation Studios Inc. (Nasdaq: PIXR)

    Pixar's going to jump Tuesday after it blew away analysts' estimates in its third quarter Monday, raking in $32.3 million, or 63 cents a share, on sales of $79.2 million.

    Its shares closed off 1/8 to 37 7/8 ahead of the earnings report but soared to 41 3/4 in after-hours trading.

    First Call consensus expected it to earn 29 cents a share in the quarter.

    Company officials credited the blow out quarter to stronger-than-expected demand for video copies of "A Bug's Life."

    The company says it expects to post 1999 earnings of at least 85 cents a share, which would exceed the consensus estimate by 12 cents a share.

    In the year-ago quarter, Pixar earned $867,000, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $2.5 million.

    Investors will also be keeping a close eye on "Toy Story 2" the sequel to the 1995 hit, which will be released later this year.

    Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 53 3/4 in November before falling to a low of 33 in August.

  • Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch Inc. (Nasdaq: TMCS)

    The online ticket seller posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter, losing $31.7 million, or 41 cents a share, on sales of $27.4 million.

    Its shares closed up 1 1/16 to 20 7/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    First Call consensus expected it to lose 49 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $27.4 million in sales represents a 141 percent improvement versus the year-ago quarter when it lost $19.3 million, or 31 cents a share, on sales of $11.3 million.

    In the quarter, Ticketmaster grew its online ticket sales 260 percent versus the same period last year.

    It also grew its registered user base to more than 4.9 million users and sold 2.5 million tickets in the quarter at an average convenience and handling charge of $6.45 per ticket.