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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Lockheed, Metron Technology, Microsoft and StarMedia

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: Lockheed Martin, Metron Technology, Microsoft and StarMedia.

  • Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT)

    Lockheed Martin should be of interest Tuesday after it named Louis Hughes president and chief operating officer, replacing Peter Teets, who resigned from the world's largest defense contractor last October.

    The appointment, effective April 27, ends the search for a No. 2 to Lockheed Chairman and Chief Executive Vance Coffman. Teets' resignation on Oct. 29 coincided with a warning that Lockheed would post lower-than-expected profits this year.

    Hughes will be responsible for day-to-day operations while Coffman will focus on strategic and financial matters.

    Hughes, 51, joins Lockheed Martin from General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) where he has served since Oct. 1998 as executive vice president of new business strategies, responsible for the development of new business and for managing GM's relationships with international business partners.

    Lockheed shares closed unchanged at 20 7/16 Monday.

  • Metron Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MTCH)

    Metron should be on the move Tuesday after it slipped past analysts' estimates in its third quarter, raking in $2.6 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $81.1 million.

    Ahead of the earnings report, Metron (Nasdaq: MTCH) shares fell 1 1/2, or 7 percent, to 19 1/2.

    First Call consensus expected the provider of marketing, sales, service and support solutions to the semiconductor industry.

    The $81.1 million in sales marks a 43 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $1.9 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $56.6 million.

    All three analysts covering the stock rate it a "buy."

    Analysts are expecting a profit of 58 cents a share in the fiscal year.

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

    Well, in case you hadn't heard, Microsoft made some news after the bell.

    As expected, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson concluded that Microsoft mounted "a deliberate assault upon entrepreneurial efforts" that could have allowed more competition for PC operating systems was just a reiteration of what Wall Street's known all along.

    Ahead of the foregone conclusion, Microsoft shares tumbled 15 percent. Its descent contributed to the Nasdaq's 369-point fall, the largest in its history.

    Despite the bad news, several analysts' reiterated their "strong buy" recommendations ahead of the decision.

    It wouldn't surprise anyone if Microsoft shares gain ground Tuesday now that the latest chapter of its antitrust saga has played out.

  • StarMedia Network Inc. (Nasdaq: STRM)

    StarMedia will garner attention Tuesday after CEO Fernando Espuelas said the Latin American ISP would agree to a merger with larger U.S. Internet players, but stopped short of saying any talks had been held.

    "Our business plan continues to be to grow our franchise and our brands,'" said Fernando Espuelas in a telephone interview. "If we can make that platform faster and more powerful by teaming up with someone, then we would."

    Espuelas stopped short of saying he had held such discussions with U.S. Internet companies such as America Online, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

    StarMedia on Monday released a study of its Spanish- and Portuguese-Internet media users, which found that users spend an average of 10.4 hours online each week, up from 8.2 in 1998.

    Some 42 percent of StarMedia users have shopped online in the past 12 months, up from 29 percent in 1998.

    Its shares closed off 4 1/16 to 26 Monday.