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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Ask Jeeves, Emulex, Intel and Three-Five Systems

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Ask Jeeves, Emulex, Intel and Three-Five Systems.

  • Ask Jeeves (Nasdaq: ASKJ)

    This stock will take some lumps Friday after warning it will post a wider-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter and announced that CEO Rob Wrubel was stepping down.

    Its shares finished off 81 cents to $9.69 ahead of the bad news.

    Company officials said it now expects to post a loss of $18 million, or 50 cents a share, in the quarter, much wider than the 33 cents analysts had previously expected.

    Sales will come in around $25 million, also below analysts' estimates.

    "The broad-based economic slowdown has caused weakness in the online advertising market, advertising pricing pressure and a decreased sense of urgency among Fortune 1000 companies to implement their online initiatives," said President Adam Klein in a prepared release.

    Wrubel resigned from his firm's top post and will be replaced by board member George "Skip" Battle on an interim basis.

    Despite all this turmoil, Ask Jeeves said it still expects to be profitable by the fourth quarter of 2001.

  • Emulex (Nasdaq: EMLX)

    Emulex should be active after it announced it would buy Giganet Inc. for $645 million in stock.

    The company expects to record a one-time charge against earnings of approximately $10 million for its purchase of Giganet's ongoing research and development when the deal closes.

    It also said demand for its fibre channel adapters is running ahead of earlier forecasts, and it now expects that business to grow by between 28 to 30 percent, up from an earlier estimate of 20-25 percent growth.

    Based on that strong demand, the company projected revenue of $285 million in the 2001 fiscal year ending July 1 and earnings-per-share of $1.48, excluding the acquisition cost.

    Analysts were looking for $1.45 a share.

    The stock closed off 44 cents to $155.31 ahead of the news.

  • Intel (Nasdaq: INTC)

    No surprise here.

    Intel warned after the bell Thursday that sales in its fourth quarter will be flat or slight above or below the $8.7 billion it recorded in the third quarter.

    In its release, Intel said "recent large cancellations by customers worldwide" were responsible for the shortfall.

    Intel shares closed up 56 cents to $32.31 ahead of the warning.

    First Call Corp. consensus expects Intel to earn 42 cents a share in the quarter.

    The warning should comes as no surprise considering most major PC makers have already issued several profit warnings detailing the demise of the consumer PC market this quarter.

    In fact, on Nov. 30 Lehman Brothers analyst Dan Niles predicted Intel would have difficulty meeting analysts' sales estimates.

    At the time, Niles cut Intel from a "buy" rating to "outperform" and said the chipmaker would have to "stretch" to even meet its lowered guidance for the fourth quarter.

  • Three-Five Systems (Nasdaq: TFS)

    Three-Five Systems has its own problems.

    It too warned after the bell Thursday, saying it expects sales of between $36 million to $38 million rather than the $45 million it previously anticipated.

    It sees earnings coming in at between 8 cents to 10 cents a share, well below the First Call Corp. consensus estimate of 20 cents a share.

    Its shares closed off $2.44 to $26.31 ahead of the news.

    Last quarter, Three-Five Systems topped reduced estimates when it earned $4.3 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $40.2 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expects it to earn $1.01 a share in fiscal 2001.