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THE DAY AHEAD: Stocks to Watch

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: Autodesk, Computer Associates, LightBridge, PictureTel, QAD and World Access.

  • Autodesk Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK)

    It's hard to predict how Wall Street will react to Autodesk's first-quarter results. The software developer crept past reduced analysts' estimates, earning $9 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $194.9 million.

    Its shares closed off 5/16 to 26 7/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    Earlier this quarter, Autodesk warned analysts that its sales and earnings would fall well short of expectations.

    First Call consensus originally expected the San Rafael, Calif. company to earn 40 cents a share in the quarter. Following the profit warning, that consensus estimate was lowered to 13 cents a share.

  • Computer Associates International Inc. (NYSE: CA)

    Computer Associates beat Street estimates by a penny a share in its fourth quarter, just as it said it would

    It raked in $457.8 million, or 83 cents a share, on sales of $1.62 billion.

    First Call consensus expected it to earn 82 cents a share in the quarter.

    But the upside surprise was preordained when company officials preannounced better-than-expected sales and earnings in April.

    Its shares closed off 2 3/16 to 43 1/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $1.62 billion in sales represents an 11 percent jump compared to the year-ago quarter when it earned $422.7 million, or 75 cents a share, on sales of $1.46 billion.

  • LightBridge Inc. (Nasdaq: LTBG)

    Kopp Investment Advisors flagged the telecommunications services company to hit $12 a share by the year's end, according to BusinessWeek's "Inside Wall Street" column. Shares fell 1.8 to 9 3/4.

    PictureTel Corp. (Nasdaq: PCTL)

    The Securities and Exchange Commission said it's begun a formal investigation into the company's restatement of results in 1997, when it restated three quarters. Shares dipped 1/16 to 9 1/8.

  • QAD Inc. (Nasdaq: QADI)

    The supply chain management software company reported a loss of 33 cents a share for its first quarter. First Call was looking for a loss of 6 cents a share. In the year-ago period, QAD lost 8 cents a share. QAD added 1/32 to 3 1/2.

  • World Access Inc. (Nasdaq: WAXS)

    The long-distance and wireless telecommunications provider said late Thursday it would buy Comm/Net Holding Corp. for $27 million in stock.

    Comm/Net, based in Plano, Texas, is a facilities-based provider of wholesale international long distance and wholesale prepaid calling card services, primarily to the Mexican telecommunications markets.

    Comm/Net reported sales of more than $38 million in its latest fiscal year.

    "We are pleased to be acquiring the operations of Comm/Net, as its facilities and dedicated bandwidth agreements will significantly expand our dedicated network facilities into Mexico," said CEO John Phillips in a prepared release. "Comm/Net has an excellent track record of performing in this market in recent years and is poised for continued growth in revenues and EBITDA during 1999."

    World Access shares closed off 7/16 to 10 1/2 Thursday.

    The stock was trading at a 52-week high of 33 7/16 last May.

    Six of the eight analysts following the stock rate it a "hold."

    -Eric C. Fleming contributed to this report.