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Market yields a tale of two sectors

High-technology companies are being split into the haves and the have-nots.

This financial quarter continues to split high-technology companies into the haves and the have-nots.

Software makers Symantec, Quarterdeck, and FTP Software today all posted lower earnings for the quarter compared with a year earlier.

Wall Street analysts had been forewarned about the lower results, however. That should be good news for the stock market, which is nervous as a cat on a tin roof nowadays.

Symantec said its profits for the three months ended June 30 fell to $3 million from $6.8 million. First-quarter sales slipped to $109.2 million from $109.9 million. The company blamed "continued erosion" in some older software product lines. It has been cutting jobs as a result of the earnings dip: about 100 of its 2,200 member workforce.

Quarterdeck posted a net loss of $22.9 million for the three months ending June 30 compared with a profit of $530,000 for the year-ago quarter. The company's third-quarter sales fell to $16 million from $28.1 million. Quarterdeck also has been laying off employees to cope with the downturn, with a goal of eliminating 11 percent of its workforce.

"Despite this major correction, we still expect to return to a revenue level in the fourth quarter that will enable the company to exceed 30 percent revenue growth in 1996 over the previous year," CEO Gaston Bastiaens said.

FTP Software posted a net loss of $13.1 million for the quarter ending June 30, down from a profit of $9.3 million a year earlier. Quarterly revenue fell to $28.1 million from $34.1 million. The company blamed the decline on lower-than-expected sales volume, mainly in Europe.

Both Symantec and Quarterdeck recently had signaled analysts that its earnings would be down and posted the results after the market closed.

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