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Tech Industry

STOCKS TO WATCH: Brocade Communications, HP and Novell

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Thursday's most actively traded issues: Brocade Communications, Hewlett-Packard and Novell.

  • Brocade Communications Systems (Nasdaq: BRCD)

    Brocade shares figure to move higher Thursday after the network-equipment and software developer easily topped analysts' estimates in its third quarter.

    In the quarter, it earned $20.1 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $92.1 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 14 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares fell 5 3/4 to 196 3/4 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $92.1 million marks a staggering 360 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $1.6 million, or a penny a share, on sales of $20.1 million.

    "We are delighted to report our eighth consecutive period of quarter over quarter revenue and earnings growth for our shareholders," said CEO Greg Reyes in a prepared release. "Data storage requirements continue to increase across the board at a staggering rate."

    In the quarter, gross profit margins jumped to 58.6 percent from 58 percent in the second quarter.

  • Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP)

    Count on HP seeing tons of action Thursday after it shattered analysts' estimates in its third quarter and announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

    HP posted net income of $1.1 billion from operations in the quarter, or 97 cents a share.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 85 cents a share in the quarter. Including equity income, HP in the third quarter earned 99 cents a share.

    Total sales jumped to $10.73 billion, up from $9.53 billion last year.

    The stock closed up 9 to 120 ahead of the earnings report.

  • Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL)

    Novell will be worth watching Thursday after it managed to slip past analysts' estimates in its third quarter, earning $8.6 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $270 million.

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

    Ahead of the earnings report, its shares inched up 1/16 to 10 15/16.

    The $270 million in sales marked a 17 percent decline from the year-ago quarter when it raked in $49.3 million, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $327 million.

    This time around, Novell watched its U.S. sales fall 12 percent from the year-ago quarter to $160 million. Sales into the Europe, Middle East and Africa slid 30 percent to $70 million while sales to the Asia-Pacific region dropped 8 percent to $22 million.

    Novell's service, education and solutions sales rose 13 percent to $56 million. Net services application sales fell 3 percent to $78 million and its NetWare server software sales plunged 29 percent to $120 million.