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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: ASM Lithography, Motorola and Stamps.com

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: ASM Lithography, Motorola and Stamps.com.

  • ASM Lithography (Nasdaq: ASML)

    ASM Lithography should get a boost after announcing the particulars of its 3-for-1 stock split.

    Ahead of the announcement, its shares closed off 9 13/16 to 120 11/16.

    Company officials said the split will take effect on April 17.

    ASM said 1999 pretax profits rose 24 percent to $119.4 million (118.3 million euros), against $90.8 million (89.9 million euros) in 1998. Net income rose 23 percent to $81.8 million from $62.6 million a year ago. Sales in the period totaled 1.2 million euros against 779 million euros in 1998.

    Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 150 3/4 in March after falling to a low of 36 3/8 in May.

    Ten of the 11 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

    First Call consensus expects it to earn $2.43 a share in the fiscal year.

  • Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: FCS)

    The semiconductor maker agreed to buy private firm QT Optoelectronics Inc., a maker of components used in clock-radio displays, for about $100 million, mostly in stock after market close Monday.

    Fairchild Semiconductor said the purchase will add to its earnings immediately. Fairchild Semiconductor fell 1 to 37 15/16 at Monday's close.

  • Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MU)

    Motorola looks to gain ground Tuesday after it slipped past analysts' estimates in its first quarter, raking in $449 million, or 59 cents a share, on sales of $8.8 billion. Its shares closed off 3 3/4 to 150 ahead of the earnings report.

    First Call consensus expected it to earn 58 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $8.8 billion in sales marks a 13 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $184 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $7.7 billion.

    "We are especially pleased by the results in our new broadband communications sector, which was formed after the merger with General Instrument, the improvements in our network systems business, and the sequential growth in quarterly earnings for semiconductors," said CEO Robert Growney in a prepared release.

    In the quarter, Motorola's semiconductor business posted sales of $1.9 billion, up 24 percent from the year-ago quarter. Operating profits rose to $123 million from $10 million a year ago.

    Company officials said sales were up "significantly" in Europe and the Americas.

    Its shares peaked at 184 5/8 in March after falling to a low of 73 3/4 last April.

    Twenty-seven of the 34 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

  • Stamps.com Inc. (Nasdaq: STMP)

    Stamps.com should see some gains Tuesday after it reported a smaller-than-expected loss in its first quarter.

    The Internet mailing and shipping service said it lost $36.8 million, or 66 cents a share, on sales of $2 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to lose 69 cents a share in the quarter.

    "The rapid revenue growth, low churn and significantly declining customer acquisition costs we experienced this quarter validate the strategy we have developed for pursuing this enormous market opportunity," said CEO John Payne in a prepared release.

    The company said it more than doubled the size of its base of paying customers, to a total of 187,057, and saw per customer acquisition costs decline by more than 28 percent quarter over quarter.

    Its shares closed unchanged at 15 3/16 Monday.