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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Cheap Tickets, Crossroads Systems, Micron Electronics and Novellus

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Cheap Tickets, Crossroads Systems and Novellus Systems.

  • Cheap Tickets (Nasdaq: CTIX)

    Cheap Tickets will see some action Friday after it announced after that bell that CFO Dale Jorgenson will retire in February.

    Company officials said Jorgenson will remain available to the company after his retirement to assist in getting his replacement up to speed.

    Its shares fell 78 cents a share to a 52-week low of $7.16 ahead of the announcement.

    Jorgenson becomes the latest CFO to either retire or bolt from a struggling online travel agency in the past month.

    Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) CFO Heidi Miller announced she would leave the online travel destination after it warned of disappointing fourth-quarter sales and announced massive layoffs.

    In its third quarter, Cheap Tickets beat the Street estimate by a penny a share, earning $4.3 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $121.4 million.

  • Crossroads Systems (Nasdaq: CRDS)

    Crossroads Systems should move higher Friday after it posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its fourth quarter, losing $4.8 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $8.4 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to lose 21 cents a share in the quarter.

    Ahead of the earnings report, Crossroads Systems shares fell 16 cents to $4.88.

    The $8.4 million in sales marks an 18 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $870,000, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $7.1 million.

    For the fiscal year, it lost $14.5 million, or 55 cents a share, on sales of $33 million, up 75 percent from fiscal 1999 when it dropped $4.2 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $18.9 million.

  • Micron Electronics (Nasdaq: MUEI)

    Here's another crash-and-burn special.

    The PC maker warned late Thursday that it will miss analysts' estimates by a wide margin in its first quarter due to lousy holiday sales.

    Ahead of the profit warning, the stock fell $1.06 to a 52-week low of $5.31.

    Company officials said it now expects to post sales of between $385 million to $400 million in the quarter and earnings of between 1 cent to 4 cents a share.

    First Call Corp. consensus was expecting a profit of 11 cents a share in the quarter.

    Micron Electronics officials said slow holiday sales and falling DRAM prices were primarily responsible for the shortfall this quarter.

    "The DRAM market is cyclical in nature, and there are certainly challenges in the PC business," said CEO Joel Kocher in a prepared release. "But the results for HostPro appear on target, and we remain focused on executing our Internet-centric strategies."

    Last quarter, Micron Electronics topped analysts' estimates when it returned a profit of $23 million, or 24 cents a share, on sales of $500 million.

  • Novellus Systems (Nasdaq: NVLS)

    Novellus stands to improve Friday after CEO Richard Hill told analysts that it expects to report fourth-quarter sales and earnings in line with analysts' estimates.

    Hill told analysts to expect sales in the neighborhood of $450 million in the quarter and earnings of 71 cents a share, matching the current First Call Corp. consensus estimate.

    Its shares closed off $3.25, or 11 percent, to $25.94 ahead of the comments.

    Novellus shares were roughed up earlier this week when Prudential Securities analyst Shekhar Prananick cut his 12-month price target on the chip-equipment maker to $55 a share while maintaining his "strong buy" recommendation.

    Last quarter, Novellus Systems met analysts' estimates when it posted a profit of $85.3 million, or 62 cents a share, on sales of $359.1 million.