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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: CMGI, E-Loan and Seagate

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: CMGI, E-Loan, Frontier, Metro One Telecommunications, Sequent and Seagate.

  • CMGI Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI)

    All the suspense will end early Tuesday morning when CMGI and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) will reportedly hold a press conference to announce that Compaq is selling its AltaVista property to the Internet incubator.

    Whatever the outcome of that press conference, you can bet CMGI shares will be on the move.

    On Monday, the stock closed up 3 7/16 to 97 11/16.

    Compaq shares closed unchanged at 22 5/16.

  • E-Loan Inc. (proposed ticker: EELN)

    E-Loan should be worth watching Tuesday after it priced its 3.5 million-share initial public offering at $14 a share Monday, well above the original price range of $9 to $11 a share.

    E-Loan provides mortgages to online customers from 70 different lenders.

    On Monday, the company bumped its price range to $12 to $14 a share.

    Its site enables consumers to efficiently search and apply for mortgages compatible with their individual financial characteristics and borrowing requirements.

    In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, E-Loan said it lost $11.1 million in its latest fiscal year on sales of $6.8 million.

    It also listed a slew of competitors and potential competitors including Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) HomeAdvisor, Intuit's (Nasdaq: INTU) QuickenMortgage, HomeShark, Keystroke and Mortgage.com. Traditional lenders, such as Countrywide, Norwest, Wells Fargo and Bank America are also providing access to their mortgage loan offerings over the Internet.

    Forrester Research projects the market for online mortgage originations will grow from $18.7 billion in 1999 to over $91.2 billion in 2003, representing an increase in online penetration of the existing market from 1.5 percent in 1999 to 9.6 percent in 2003.

    Goldman Sachs will serve as the lead underwriter while Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Hambrecht & Quist will co-manage the offering.

  • Frontier Corp. (NYSE: FRO)

    Being wooed by two suitors may make Frontier Corp. (NYSE: FRO) feel wanted, but it won't stop the company from reporting a disappointing second quarter.

    In results released after market close Monday, the Rochester, NY-based communications company said it expects to report fiscal second quarter earnings ranging between 20 and 22 cents a share, and fiscal year earnings of $1 a share. First Call's survey of 13 analysts had predicted a a second quarter profit of 28 cents a share, and $1.19 a share for the year.

    Executives blamed much of the shortfall on rapidly falling prices in the market for long distance telephone service.

  • Metro One Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: MTON)

    Metro One investors are about to be disconnected from a large portion of their money. The company said Monday it would miss analysts' estimates by a dime a share in its second quarter.

    The directory assistance provider for wireless telecommunications companies said it now expects sales of between $17 million to $17.5 million and earnings of 1 cent a share in the quarter.

    First Call consensus expected Metro One to earn 11 cents a share in the quarter.

    Last quarter, it made $682,000, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $14.1 million.

    "The expected earnings, which are below consensus analysts' estimates, come as the result of our electing to take on an increased amount of staffing and infrastructure expenditures in preparation for additional scheduled call volume from a number of markets under long-term contract with a major customer group," said CEO Timothy Timmins in a prepared release.

    "Had this additional call volume arrived as expected, we estimate that earnings for the quarter would have been in line with analysts' estimates," he said.

    In a separate announcement, Metro One said it signed a multi-year contract to provide its EDA services to Nextel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTL). Under the terms of the contract, Metro One will provide its EDA services to Nextel's nationwide network of wireless subscribers.

  • Sequent Computer Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: SQNT)

    International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is in talks to acquire computer maker Sequent Computer Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: SQNT), but financial terms haven't been finalized, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

    Citing one person familiar with the matter, the paper reported the discussions are in an advanced stage, and a deal could be announced in the next few days.

  • Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: SEG)

    Seagate shareholders are in for a rude awakening Tuesday morning. The disk-drive manufacturer bore bad news late Monday, warning that weaker demand and plunging average selling prices will result in lower-than-expected earnings in its fourth quarter.

    First Call consensus was expecting a profit of 49 cents a share in the quarter.

    That isn't going to happen.

    Seagate officials said earnings will fall somewhere between 32 cents and 37 cents a share in the quarter.

    The stock closed up 1/8 to 29 5/8 Monday.

    It peaked at 44 1/4 in January after falling to a 52-week low of 16 1/8 in August.

    Ten of the 13 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

    Seagate will make official when it announces its fourth-quarter results July 15.