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STOCKS TO WATCH: Amazon, InfoSpace, Macromedia, Scient and VerticalNet

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Amazon.com, InfoSpace, Macromedia, Scient and VerticalNet.

  • Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)

    Amazon.com squeaked past analysts' estimates in its first quarter Wednesday, posting a loss of $122 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $574 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus pegged the online retailer for a loss of 36 cents a share in the quarter.

    Ahead of the earnings report, its shares closed up 1 1/16 to 53 1/2.

    The $574 million in sales beat most analysts' estimates and represented a 95 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $36 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $294 million.

    Company officials reiterated their commitment to profitability, though most analysts aren't expecting it to hit the black until sometime in fiscal 2002.

  • InfoSpace Inc. (Nasdaq: INSP)

    InfoSpace should get a nice response Thursday after it posted a surprise profit in its first quarter, earning $1.9 million, or a penny a share, on sales of $19 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus predicted the provider of infrastructure for Web sites and wireless devices would lose 6 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares finished off 61/64 to 64 3/64 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $19 million in sales marks a dramatic 260 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $5.3 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $5.3 million.

    Including special items, InfoSpace reported a loss of 38 cents a share in the quarter.

  • Macromedia Inc. (Nasdaq: MACR)

    Macromedia will be on the move Thursday after it easily blew past analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, raking in $12.5 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $89.3 million.

    Analysts expected it to earn 16 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed off 3 7/16 to 61 1/4 ahead of the earnings report.

    Total sales of $89.3 million marks a 95 percent improvement compared to the year-ago quarter when it pocketed $3.9 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $45.8 million.

    "It has been a great year for Macromedia," said CEO Rob Burgess in a prepared release. "Our financial results reflect the accelerating strength and momentum of our business, and are a testament to the product and business foundation we have been putting in place for several years."

    For the year, Macromedia posted a profit of $30.4 million, or 56 cents a share, on sales of $264.2 million compared to a profit of $8.1 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $133.2 million in fiscal 1999.

  • Scient Corp. (Nasdaq: SCNT)

    Scient looks to make some noise after it charged past Street estimates in its fourth quarter, posting a profit of $3.4 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $65.8 million.

    Analysts were looking for a profit of 2 cents a share in the quarter.

    Scient shares closed off 1/16 to 51 5/8.

    The $65.8 million in sales marks a 600 percent explosion from the year-ago quarter when it lost $2.3 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $9.4 million.

    For the year, Scient posted a loss of $2.6 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $155.7 million, up 650 percent from fiscal 2000 when it lost $4 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $20.7 million.

    Scient shares moved up to an all-time high of 133 3/4 in March after bottoming out at 13 7/8 shortly after its initial public offering in May.

    All 21 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

  • VerticalNet Inc. (Nasdaq: VERT)

    VerticalNet should gain ground Thursday after it shattered analysts' estimates in its first quarter, posting a loss of $12.2 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $27.5 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the B2B services provider to lose 27 cents a share in the quarter.

    Ahead of the earnings report, VerticalNet shares closed up 7/8 to 46.

    The $27.5 million in sales marks a 1,320 percent surge compared to the year-ago quarter when it lost $5.3 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $1.9 million.

    That loss exludes a one-time gain of $79.9 million, resulting from the merger of a publicly traded company and a private company in which VerticalNet was a shareholder.