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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: CacheFlow, DoubleClick, Etec Systems, H-P and PurchasePro.com

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: CacheFlow, DoubleClick, Etec Systems, Hewlett-Packard and PurchasePro.com.

  • CacheFlow Inc. (Nasdaq: CFLO)

    Expect CacheFlow shares to rise Thursday after it posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter, losing $7.2 million, or 24 cents a share, on sales of $8 million.

    First Call consensus expected the Internet caching appliance developer to lose 29 cents a share in the quarter.

    Including stock compensation, CacheFlow posted a loss of $17.8 million, or 59 cents a share, in the quarter.

    Its shares hustled up to a 52-week high of 182 3/16 in December before falling to a low of 83 in January.

    All three analysts tracking the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

    First Call consensus expects CacheFlow to lose 93 cents a share in fiscal 2000.

  • DoubleClick Inc (Nasdaq: DCLK)

    Shares in the Internet advertising firm fell 10 to 96 1/2 in pre-market trading after news it is the subject of informal inquiries by the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General's office for its practice of tracking Web surfers.

    The FTC notified the company last week of an informal probe examing whether the company's data collection practices were unfair or deceived consumers, DoubleClick said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The company has been cooperating in the inquiry, which is a routine check to see it the company has violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

    DoubleClick's initial disclosure was found amid the details of a lengthy amended registration statement to sell 7.5 million shares of stock that was filed with the SEC on Feb 14.

    Controversy was sparked last month when DoubleClick revealed a new plan to track Internet user's movements on the Web and combine that data with people's real names and addresses. The plan is not yet in effect, the company has said.

  • Etec Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ETEC)

    The chip-equipment maker posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its second quarter, losing $1.4 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $55.2 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to lose 10 cents a share in the quarter.

    Etec shares closed up 4 3/8 to 108 1/4 ahead of the earnings report.

    In January, Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT) agreed to buy
    for $1.78 billion in stock.

    On Tuesday, Applied Materials topped analysts' estimates in its first quarter, earning $328 million, or 80 cents a share, on sales of $1.67 billion.

    Etec's second-quarter sales of $55.2 million marks a 4 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $1.7 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $53 million.

  • Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP)

    H-P should make some noise Thursday after it topped estimates in its first quarter, earning $794 million, or 80 cents a share, on sales of $11.67 billion.

    First Call consensus expected H-P to earn 78 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $11.67 billion in sales marks a 14 percent gain from $10.24 billion it recorded in the year ago period. Computing systems revenue increased to 15 percent to $5.13 billion, imaging and printing sales gained 13 percent to $5.14 billion and services rose 14 percent to $1.62 billion.

    Domestic revenue increased to $5 billion, a 12 percent gain year-over-year. Non-U.S. business picked up 16 percent and generated 57 percent of HP's overall first quarter revenue. Europe saw $4.3 billion in revenue, up 7 percent year-over-year, while Asia Pacific revenue rose 46 percent to $1.6 billion.

    Units shipped doubled for home PCs, although revenue fell slightly because of lower prices. First quarter shipments of notebook computers more than tripled from a year ago. The company cited International Data Corp. statistics that show HP gained one percentage point of market share.

  • PurchasePro.com Inc. (Nasdaq: PPRO)

    PurchasePro.com posted a fourth-quarter loss of $6.9 million, or 24 cents a share, on sales of $2.7 million.

    There was no First Call consensus estimate for PurchasePro.com this quarter.

    Its shares closed up 13 3/4, or 12 percent, to 133 1/4.

    The $2.7 million in sales represents a 318 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $1.8 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $600,000.

    For the year, PurchasePro.com lost $16 million, or 94 cents a share, on sales of $6 million compared to a loss of $6.8 million, or 49 cents a share, on sales of $1.7 million in fiscal 1998.

    In the quarter, gross profit margins improved to 90 percent, up from 83 percent in the year-ago quarter.