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STOCKS TO WATCH: E*Trade, Informix, IBM, Microsoft and Qwest

Expect the following technology stocks to be among Monday's most actively traded issues: E*Trade, Informix, IBM, Microsoft and Qwest.

  • E*Trade Group Inc. (Nasdaq: EGRP)

    The online brokerage firm will report its third-quarter earnings Monday with First Call consensus expecting a loss of 13 cents a share.

    E*Trade shares closed off 1 1/2 to 37 1/2 Friday.

    Investors might not be terribly ecstatic about E*Trade's near-term prospects.

    On Friday, competitor Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCH) lost 2 15/16 to 52 7/16 after warning that increased investment in technology, personnel and advertising could impact future profit margins.

    In its second quarter, Charles Schwab earned $151 million, or 18 cents a share.

    E*Trade shares peaked at 72 1/4 in April after falling to a low of 2 1/2 in October. In between, the stock has split twice.

  • Informix Corp. (Nasdaq: IFMX)

    The database software developer will report its second quarter results Monday.

    First Call consensus expects it to earn 7 cents a share.

    Informix shares closed up 13/32 to 9 7/16 Friday.

    After surviving some embarrassing accounting problems last year, Informix appears to be on the road to recovery.

    Its shares fell to a low of 3 1/2 in August before rallying to a high of 14 in January.

    Last quarter, it reported a profit of 4 cents a share.

    Still, seven of the nine analysts following the stock rate it either a "hold" or a "sell."

  • International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

    IBM will report its second quarter results Monday.

    First Call consensus expects it to earn 88 cents a share in the quarter.

    Last quarter, IBM raked in $1.5 billion, or $1.55 a share, on sales of $20.3 billion.

    Its stock closed up 1/16 to 136 3/8 Friday.

    It peaked at 139 3/16 earlier this month.

    Twenty-one of the 26 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

    Microsoft should be the most exciting stock of the day. It reports its fourth-quarter results Monday.

    First Call consensus predicts the software giant will earn 36 cents a share in the quarter.

    Last quarter, it made $1.92 billion, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $4.33 billion.

    Microsoft should be even more interesting to watch after a federal jury in Connecticut Friday found that it did not violate U.S. antitrust law in a suit brought by a small Connecticut software company.

    While the eight-member jury found the world's leading software company liable for violating Connecticut business laws, it awarded nominal damages of only $1 to the plaintiff, Bristol Technology Inc.

    Microsoft shares hit a 52-week high of around $99 a share Friday.

  • Qwest Communications International Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST)

    After a month-long takeover battle, Qwest Communications International Inc. won U S West Inc., the smallest of the Bell operating companies, for $35 billion, after withdrawing its bid for Frontier Corp. Global Crossing now merges with Frontier.

    A compromise to split the prize was reached over the past several days after Global Crossing told U S West it wouldn't increase its original $30 billion offer to match Qwest's latest bid of $35 billion. Qwest is offering $69 for each of 508 million shares outstanding of U S West.

    Shares closed up 1 1/16 to 35.

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