Technology stocks continued to stammer through this holiday-shortened trading week. With the presidential election still undecided, analysts expect more volatile and uninspired trading for the foreseeable future.
That's not to say there wasn't some non-presidential news affecting the market this week.
Several analysts lashed out at leading telecom-equipment makers and beleaguered Internet stocks this week, adding further insult to injury.
``We have technology analysts acting like rats leaving the ship,'' said Bill Meehan, chief market analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald. ``Analysts are hacking away at estimates and I expect that where we are right now is still probably too optimistic for 2001.''
Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A) gave investors some good news this week when it topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter.
Agilent returned a profit of $319 million, or 69 cents a share, on sales of $3.37 billion, well above the First Call Corp. consensus estimate of 53 cents a share.
Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) managed to meet analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, breaking even on a per-share basis on sales of $273.3 million.
However, its share fell to a 52-week low after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock and other analysts issued cautionary statements.
Looking ahead to next week, investors will get to mull over earnings from several key technology firms.
Last quarter, it beat Street estimates when it earned $137 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $891 million.
First Call Corp. consensus expects it to earn 95 cents a share in the quarter, up from the $41 million, or 74 cents a share, it pocketed in the third quarter.
In the third quarter, it missed the Street estimate, dropping $8 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $4.8 million.