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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: MarchFirst, Photronics and PurchasePro

    Expect the following technology stocks to be among Tuesday's most actively traded issues: MarchFirst, Photronics and PurchasePro.com.

  • MarchFirst (Nasdaq: MRCH)

    MarchFirst will be on the move Tuesday but that's not good news for shareholders.

    The Internet consulting firm missed analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter and cut its sales target for the first quarter of 2001.

    In the quarter, MarchFirst posted a loss of $73.2 million, or 40 cents a share, on sales of $213.5 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus pegged it for a loss of 30 cents a share on sales of $249 million.

    Its shares closed up 16 cents to $2.50 ahead of the earnings report before falling to $1.63 a share in after-hours trading.

    Company executives blamed the shortfall on slowing demand from Internet customers as well deteriorating economic conditions throughout the industry.

    Since November, MarchFirst has laid off 2,100 employees as the company battles to reach profitability.

    Company executives told analysts to expect first-quarter sales of between $190 million and $215 million and a loss of between 22 cents and 31 cents a share.

    Analysts were forecasting a loss of 6 cents a share on sales of $267.8 million.

  • Photronics (Nasdaq: PLAB)

    Photronics will be on the move Tuesday after it topped analysts' estimates in its first quarter, pocketing $8.4 million, or 28 cents a share, on sales of $98.6 million.

    Analysts were expecting a profit of 25 cents a share.

    The $98.6 million in sales marks a 36 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $3.5 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $72.6 million.

    Company executives credited strong demand in Asia and Europe for the better-than-expected results.

    Photronics' shares closed up $1.63 to $31.69 ahead of the earnings report before hustling up to $33.50 in after-hours trading.

  • PurchasePro.com (Nasdaq: PPRO)

    The B2B services provider will be active Tuesday after it easily topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, earning $7.6 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $33.6 million.

    It also raised its first-quarter and fiscal 2001 sales and earnings estimates.

    It now expects to earn 9 cents a share in the first quarter and 59 cents a share in the fiscal year, well above the current estimates of 2 cents and 37 cents a share, respectively.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to lose a penny a share in the quarter on sales of $33.6 million.

    Its shares closed up $1.44 to $15.94 ahead of the earnings report before shooting up to $17.65 in after-hours trading.

    The $33.6 million in sales marks a 1,160 percent surge from the year-ago quarter when it posted a loss of $6 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $2.7 million

    PurchasePro.com shares lost more than 42 percent of their value last week after Barron's questioned the company's business model and valuation and Prudential Securities downgraded the stock from a "strong buy" rating to "accumulate."

    In the fiscal year, PurchasePro.com posted a loss, excluding charges, of $12.6 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $65 million compared to a loss of $15.2 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $6 million in fiscal 1999.