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Net stocks looking up?

As tech companies gear up to report their third-quarter results, a leading Net analyst predicts a few will beat Wall Street's expectations.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto
3 min read
As tech companies gear up to report their third-quarter results in the coming weeks, a leading Net analyst has pegged a few such as and Amazon.com to post better financial results than Wall Street's current earnings consensus.

Online bookstore Amazon.com, which is scheduled to report October 28, is expected to report a loss of 57 cents per share, according to First Call. But analyst Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter anticipates the company will post a smaller loss of 52 cents per share.

Meanwhile, publishing software maker Adobe is anticipated to pull in earnings of 56 cents per share when it reports quarterly results in December, according to First Call. Meeker, however, has higher hopes for the company, with an earnings estimate of 60 cents per share.

Cable Net access firm @Home, which reports tomorrow, is expected to report revenues of $13 million and its first gross profit of $2 million, according to Meeker's Internet report released to clients Friday. Meeker and analysts' consensus expect @Home to post a quarterly loss of 8 cents per share.

"We are also looking for total subscribers of 218,000, up 739 percent year-over-year and 48 percent [sequentially], although the final count may come in a tad shy of our estimates--direction and momentum here are key," she said.

Excite is anticipated to report revenues of $38 million and a loss of 2 cents per share when it releases its earnings Thursday, Meeker stated in her report. But she noted that the portal may find itself closer to hitting a break-even point.

Analysts such as Keith Benjamin of BancBoston Robertson Stephens also note there "remains considerable upside" to certain estimates, particularly in looking at Yahoo over the next two years. Yahoo soundly beat analysts estimates last week when it reported stronger-than-expected earnings. Benjamin, like Meeker, notes Excite's earnings may break even for the quarter and help draw more attention to its stock.

Software giant Microsoft, which reports October 20, is expected to remain strong with its earnings performance, despite the pending Justice Department (DOJ) antitrust suit against it. The trial is currently set for October 19.

Meeker is looking for revenues in excess of $3.8 billion for the software giant, which would be a 23 percent increase over last year and a 4 percent sequential rise. She expects Office 97 and Windows 98 sales to original equipment makers as well as Windows NT and BackOffice to continue driving revenue growth. Microsoft is expected to post earnings of 49 cents per share, according to First Call and Meeker.

And for fiscal 1999, Meeker estimates that Microsoft will post revenues of $17.7 billion, up 22 percent over the previous year. Windows is expected to contribute to that figure with a 40 percent revenue increase, providing PC unit shipments continue their growth path. And Windows NT Server-BackOffice revenues are expected to increase 27 percent year over year.

"We believe [this NT estimate] is conservative despite the slip of Windows NT 5.0 into fiscal-year 2000," Meeker said. "We estimate earnings per share will rise 21 percent year over year to $2.16 plus."