Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Barnesandnoble.com, Conexant, Oracle and StarMedia

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Barnesandnoble.com, Conexant Systems, Oracle and StarMedia Network.

  • Barnesandnoble.com (Nasdaq: BNBN)

    Barnesandnoble.com will be active after it announced after the bell Wednesday that it will shell out $64 million to acquire Fatbrain.com (Nasdaq: FATB).

    Barnesandnoble.com will pay $4.25 a share for outstanding shares of Fatbrain.

    Company officials said Fatbrain.com's management team would remain intact and continue to operate out of its Santa Clara, Calif. location.

    Separately, Fatbrain.com posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its second quarter, losing $8 million, or 62 cents a share, on sales of $15.3 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to lose 76 cents a share in the quarter.

    Ahead of the news, Fatbrain.com shares closed up 37/64, or 15 percent, to 4 25/64.

    Barnesandnoble.com closed off 1/4 to 4 3/8.

  • Conexant Systems (Nasdaq: CNXT)

    Conexant Systems will be on the move Thursday after announcing its board of directors has approved a plan to spin off its Internet infrastructure business.

    The company said it has targeted January 2001 for an initial public offering of stock in the new company.

    The IPO will be followed within six months by a tax-free distribution of the remaining shares to Conexant shareowners.

    Completion of the spin-off is conditional upon receiving an IRS ruling that it will qualify as a tax-free distribution.

    The two companies will enter into a multi-year technology and marketing alliance.

    Its shares closed up 3 5/16 to 37 1/16 Wednesday.

  • Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL)

    Oracle shares will be hopping ahead of its first-quarter earnings report.

    First Call Corp. consensus expects it to earn 13 cents a share this quarter.

    Last quarter, it posted of $926 million, or 31 cents a share, on sales of $3.4 billion.

    Merrill Lynch analyst Chris Shilakes sees operating margins hitting 24.4 percent, up from 17 percent a year ago, and noted they could go even higher depending on the product mix. Jim Mendelson at Wit Soundview pegs the figure at 24 percent for the upcoming quarter.

    Oracle shares closed up 2 7/16 to 81 13/16.

  • StarMedia Network (Nasdaq: STRM)

    The Latin America portal stock will be active Thursday after announcing it will take a charge of up to $4 million to pay for 125 job cuts as the company tries to speed up its path to operating profits.

    StarMedia said the cost-cutting move will help the company reach operating profits in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001, StarMedia said.

    Analyst consensus currently predicts losses for StarMedia through 2001, and the company had long told Wall Street to expect operating earnings in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2002. However, company executives in recent months have been saying StarMedia could reach profitability faster.

    Wednesday's announcement comes as StarMedia integrates 10 acquisitions made over the past year. The layoffs and other cost-cutting moves will lower annual expenses by $15 million to $20 million in 2001, the company said.

    The stock closed off 1/2 to 11 1/2 Wednesday.