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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: AOL, Autobytel.com, eToys, Infoseek and Xoom.com

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Friday's most actively traded issues: AOL, Autobytel.com, eToys, Infoseek and Xoom.com.

  • America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL)

    AOL shares will undoubtedly jump Friday after announcing its second 2-for-1 split this year.

    AOL shares closed up 6 7/8 to 126 1/2 ahead of the announcement.

    "We hope that this latest split will make it possible for even more people to share in the promising growth of our Company and our industry as we enter the 21st Century," said CEO Steve Case in a prepared release.

    In its first quarter, AOL topped analysts' estimates, earning $184 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $1.5 billion.

    AOL officials were quick to point out that investors who bought 1,000 shares of AOL common stock at the company's initial public offering for $11,500 would now hold 128,000 shares valued at more than $7.8 million.

    AOL shares moved up to a 52-week high of 175 1/2 in April after falling to a low of 29 1/8 last October.

    AOL shares split 2-for-1 in February. The stock also split 2-for-1 in November 1998.

  • Autobytel.com Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL)

    Autobytel.com reported a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter Thursday, losing $5.7 million, or 37 cents a share, on sales of $10.6 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to lose 39 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 1/8 to 15 7/8 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $10.6 million in sales represents a 64 percent improvement compared to the year-ago quarter when it lost $5.5 million, or 65 cents a share, on sales of $6.5 million.

    In the quarter, the number of purchase requests sent to dealers in the third quarter reached a record 590,000, a 15 percent increase from the second quarter of 1999, and a 75 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago. Autobytel.com also reported that its network of paying dealers increased to 3,063, up from 2,865 dealers at the close of the second quarter. The percentage of revenue from related products, such as insurance and financing, and from international fees, was 12 percent in the third quarter.

  • eToys Inc. (Nasdaq: ETYS)

    eToys topped Street estimates in its second quarter Thursday, losing $32.1 million, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $13.3 million.

    First Call consensus expected the online toy retailer to lose 28 cents a share.

    In the quarter, repeat customers generated 42 percent of eToys orders in the quarter. Total customer accounts increased to 611,000 at the end of September from 467,000 in June.

    Its shares closed off 2 9/16 to 70 5/8 Thursday.

  • Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq: SEEK)

    Infoseek posted a third-quarter loss of $21.5 million, or 34 cents a share, on sales of $41.3 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to lose 42 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $41.3 million in sales marks a 115 percent gain from the year-ago quarter when it lost $2.6 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $19.2 million.

    In the quarter, average daily page views jumped to 55 million, up from 49 million in June.

    Infoseek shares closed up 13/16 to 28 7/8 ahead of the earnings report.

  • Xoom.com Inc. (Nasdaq: XMCM)

    Xoom.com also posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter Thursday, losing $3 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $9 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to lose 38 cents a share in the quarter.

    Including the effects of acquisition-related amortization of intangibles and purchased in-process research and development charges, Xoom.com lost $8.6 million or 44 cents a share.

    Xoom.com shares closed up 5/16 to 61 1/2 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $9 million in sales represents a 289 percent jump compared to the year-ago quarter when it lost $2.2 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $2.3 million.

    This marks the end of Xoom.com's run as an independent company.

    "During the third quarter we had several key accomplishments that we think will have a significant impact on NBC Internet following our proposed merger," said CEO Chris Kitze in a prepared release. "We are now focused on closing the merger to form NBC Internet so that we can begin operating as a new company."

    In the quarter, Xoom.com grew its membership base to 10.3 million users, up from 3.6 million in the year-ago quarter.