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THE DAY AHEAD: Stocks to Watch

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Wednesday's most actively traded issues: Applied Materials, BEA Systems, Books-A-Million, CMGi, Creative Computers, Dell, eBay, Lycos, Network Appliance and Pairgain.

  • Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT)

    The world's largest maker of equipment for chip manufacturing posted ongoing net income of 36 cents a share for its second quarter. First Call's survey of 25 analysts predicted a profit of 27 cents a share for the quarter ended April 30. Shares dipped 1.8 to 63 1/8.

  • BEA Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS)

    The software developer should get a nice boost Wednesday after it reported better-than-expected sales and earnings for the second-consecutive quarter Tuesday. In the quarter, it made $5.8 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $85.6 million.

    First Call consensus expected the developer of middleware software to earn 2 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $85.6 million in sales represents a 46 percent jump compared to the year-ago when it earned $3 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $58.5 million.

    In the fourth quarter, BEA blew away analysts' estimates, pocketing $3.9 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $82 million.

    BEA has made a remarkable recovery from the dark days of early November when it warned that Y2K spending and economic strife abroad would decimate earnings in future quarters.

    Nine of the 10 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

    First Call consensus expects the San Jose, Calif. company to earn 30 cents a share in the fiscal year.

    Books-A-Million Inc. (Nasdaq: BAMM)

    The online bookseller topped Street estimates in its first quarter Tuesday, earning $310,000, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $85.1 million. Its shares closed up 1 29/32, or 22 percent, to 10 5/8.

    First Call consensus expected the Birmingham, Ala. company to earn a penny a share in the quarter.

    The $85.1 million in sales represented a 14 percent improvement compared to the year-ago quarter when it earned $10,000 on sales of $74.4 million.

    The upside surprise couldn't have come at a better time considering Books-A-Million shares have lost more than half their value since it missed analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter.

  • CMGi Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI)

    The Internet incubator stands to make some hay Wednesday after one its babies, Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS) beat Street estimates in its third quarter.

    Strong sales and surging traffic point toward even greater things down the road. As Lycos shares surge, CMGi stands to reap some nice benefits since its owns 20 percent of Lycos.

    CMGi shares closed off 8 15/16 to 239 7/16 ahead of the earnings report, but gained 2 and change in after-market trading.

    First Call consensus expects CMGi to lose 27 cents a share in its third quarter but post a profit of 53 cents a share for the fiscal year.

    CMGi shares peaked at 330 in April.

  • Creative Computers Inc. (Nasdaq: MALL)

    The parent of uBid Inc. (Nasdaq: UBID) said it will distribute its remaining stake in the online auctioneer on June 7 to shareholders of record May 27. These shareholders will get 0.7 shares of uBid for each share of Creative they hold, depending on the number of outstanding shares at the time. Creative slipped 7/16 to 30 1/16.

  • Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL)

    Dell officials must be wondering what they have to do to impress Wall Street these days.

    On Tuesday, the PC maker met analysts' estimates in its first quarter, returning a profit of $434 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $5.54 billion. Its shares closed up 13/16 to 44 1/16 ahead of the results.

    But merely meeting analysts' estimates apparently isn't good enough for Dell investors. The stock fell 2 7/16 to 41 5/8 in after-market trading.

    First Call consensus expected the PC giant to earn 16 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $5.54 billion in sales represents a 41 percent improvement versus the year-ago quarter when it earned $305 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $3.92 billion.

    Company officials credited an incredible surge in online sales as well as strong demand in the U.S. and throughout Asia for the solid earnings. Its online sales tripled compared to the year-ago quarter, resulting in sales of more than $18 million a day. Online sales accounted for 30 percent of the firm's total sales in the quarter.

    But "whisper" numbers circulating Wall Street ahead of the earnings report pegged Dell for a profit of 17 cents to 18 cents a share.

    Sometimes good enough isn't.

  • eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY)

    The leading person-to-person auctioneer snapped u Krause, an auctioneer of collectible cars and plans to buy Billpoint, a system that lets all eBay members pay each other using credit cards - the two deals totaled $275 million in stocks. Shares of eBay fell 8 7/8 to 189 9/16.

  • Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS)

    The Internet portal posted a loss of $1 million, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $35.1 million in its third quarter, a penny better than most analysts' predicted.

    The stock closed up 4 7/16 to 112 15/16 Tuesday before jumping another $3 a share in after-hours trading.

    The $35.1 million in sales was a 15 percent jump from the second quarter, when Lycos $1.5 million, or 3 cents a share.

    Lycos said it reached 51.8 percent of all Internet users. Average daily page views increased 20 percent to 60 million. And the registered membership on Lycos properties rose to 27 million, a 29 percent sequential gain.

    The company also Tuesday announced a 2-for-1 stock split, scheduled to take effect in late July.

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

    The computer network data storage company reported fourth quarter earnings of 13 cents a share, which was in line with estimates and represented a 70 percent increase from a year earlier. Shares gained 5 to 53 7/8.

  • Pairgain Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: PAIR)

    A federal criminal investigation named the telecommunications equipment maker's chairman, Charles Strauch and another officer into a probe into the losses of a Beverly Hills money management firm.

    In March, a phony press release was posted purporting that Pairgain was being acquired by ECI Telecom Inc. for $18 a share.

    Shares of Pairgain added 3/4 to 14 13/16.

    -Eric C. Fleming contributed to this report.