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STOCKS TO WATCH: BellSouth, DoubleClick, eMerge, Evolving Systems, Priceline and Vitesse

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Art Technology, BellSouth, DoubleClick, eMerge Interactive, Evolving Systems, and Vitesse.

  • Art Technology Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARTG)

    Art Technology shares will be on the rise Wednesday after announcing a 2-for-1 stock split after the bell Tuesday.

    The split will occur on March 10, leaving the company with more than 66 million shares outstanding.

    The developer of Internet customer relationship management and electronic commerce software posted a loss of $9.5 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $13.2 million in its fourth quarter.

    Its shares closed up 8 3/4 to 144 1/2 ahead of the announcement.

  • BellSouth Corp. (NYSE:BLS)

    Baby Bells SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) and BellSouth are in talks to merge their U.S. cellular-phone businesses to create a nearly national wireless provider, according to people familiar with the matter cited in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal.

    The discussions are focusing on the creation of a new company that would include the domestic wireless assets of both firms.

    The proposed merger of the two companies would allow them to compete against the big players such as AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T),and Sprint Corp.'s (NYSE: FON) Sprint PCS Group (NYSE: PCS), the Journal said.

  • DoubleClick Inc. (Nasdaq: DCLK)

    AltaVista and have distanced themselves from the Internet advertising network, partly out of concerns about its privacy issues, the Wall Street Journal said Wednesday.

    Search engine AltaVista, a CMGI Inc. (Nasdaq:CMGI) company, has limited the release of customer information to DoubleClick and other Web companies with which AltaVista has content partnerships. Internet home-delivery service Kozmo is speeding up steps to end its partnership with DoubleClick, the Journal said.

    Privacy activists have charged the company's efforts to accumulate data about consumer Web-viewing habits are illegal. The Federal Trade Commission recently began investigating the company's practices. Michigan sued the company, accusing it of violating the state's consumer protection law.

  • eMerge Interactive Inc. (Nasdaq: EMRG)

    eMerge Interactive will be worth watching Wednesday after it posted a fourth-quarter loss of $4.9 million, or $1.48 a share, on sales of $25.4 million, more than double the amount it lost in the year-ago quarter.

    However, the business-to-business e-commerce company did improve its sales more than 3,600 percent from the year-ago quarter when it lost $2.2 million, or 37 cents a share, on sales of $686,000.

    eMerge shares closed up 5 1/8 to 53 1/8 ahead of the earnings report.

    There was no First Call consensus estimate for eMerge this quarter.

    The strong revenue growth caps a whirlwind month for the online cattle auctioneer.

    For the year, eMerge Interactive lost $15.6 million, or $3.11 a share, on sales of $43.8 million. In fiscal 1998, it lost $7.8 million, or $1.80 a share, on sales of $1.8 million.

  • Evolving Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: EVOL)

    Evolving Systems should gain ground Wednesday after it slipped past analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, earning $494,000, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $11 million.

    Its shares closed up 3/16 to 13 7/8 ahead of the earnings report.

    First Call consensus pegged the software and consulting services company to earn 3 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $11 million in sales marks a 31 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when Evolving Systems (Nasdaq: EVOL) lost $3.4 million, or 29 cents a share, on sales of $8.4 million.

    For the year, it lost $4.1 million, or 34 cents a share, on sales of $40.5 million, including a $3.2 million charge related to a legal settlement in the first quarter. In fiscal 1998, it lost $11.3 million, or $1.43 a share, on sales of $37.2 million.

  • Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN) announced late Tuesday that's going to expand its services to Australia and New Zealand.

    The new firm will be called MyPrice and it will be headed up by two former top executives of Australia's biggest telecommunications company, Telstra Corp Ltd.

    Frank Blount, former chief executive officer of Telstra, will be chairman of MyPrice, while Peter Shore, Telstra's former group managing director of commercial and consumer operations, will be chief executive of the new firm.

    MyPrice is set to launch two Web sites later this year to serve the 23 million residents of Australia and New Zealand.

    Its shares closed up 2 1/16 to 55 15/16 Tuesday.

    Under the terms of the definitive agreement, Priceline will license its business model to MyPrice, and also provide technological and marketing expertise.

    The new firm will pay Priceline an annual licensing fee for Priceline's intellectual property. In addition, Priceline will buy a convertible note allowing it to take up to a 50-percent stake in the company under certain conditions.

  • Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS)

    Vitesse figures climb even higher Wednesday after its CEO predicted operating income and gross profit margins will settle in at 40 percent and 70 percent, respectively, in the next five to eight quarters.

    CEO Lou Tomasetta made those bold predictions to analysts during the Robertson Stephens Tech 2000 investment conference in San Francisco Tuesday.

    Its shares rallied up 12 3/16 to a 52-week high of 103 13/16 Tuesday.

    Tomasetta said the company has been adding 10 to 20 new products every quarter and he expects that trend to continue in the rest of 2000.

    Vitesse supplies chips for some of the fastest-growing communications markets, including optical fiber and fiber channel segments using

    Earlier Tuesday, Salomon Smith Barney raised its 12-month price target from $40 a share to $100 a share.

    Last quarter, Vitesse met analysts' estimates, earning $23.6 million, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $89.2 million.