Stocks to Watch: Citigroup, Freeserve, Microsoft, Intel and More

Note: This content was originally posted in 2000. It should not be regarded as investment advice.

The S&P futures contract is up slightly Wednesday, pointing to a flat-to-higher Wall Street open. Europe is mostly higher.

Investors will get a large dose of blue-chip earnings today, which will most likely dictate the market’s trading direction.

Citigroup (C: NYSE)

Citigroup Wednesday said earnings rose 23% in the second-quarter, led by gains in lending to businesses.

Citigroup reported second-quarter earnings of 87 cents a share, beating Wall Street forecasts of 83 cents a share and its year-earlier results of 71 cents a share.

Citigroup, the largest US financial-services company, also announced a 4-for-3 split payable on August 25 to shareholders of record.

Approval also was granted for repurchase of an additional $5 billion of Citigroup common stock, continuing the company’s program of buying shares primarily to fund employee benefit plans.

Freeserve (FREE: Nasdaq ADR)

The UK Internet service provider is heading for sharply increased losses next year because of soaring spending on technology and the cost of introducing un-metered Internet access, according to a report from the company’s investment bank, Credit Suisse First Boston.

The Financial Times reported that CSFB is now forecasting pre-tax losses of 60.9 million pounds in 2001, more than double its previous estimate of 27.4 million.

The brokerage has also revised its forecasts for 2002, with pre-tax losses now seen at 40.7 million compared with a previous estimate of 21.2 million.

The FT said the house broker’s revisions will come as a surprise to the market, where most estimates are for losses of 25-30 million pounds in 2001. The broker still however forecasts Freeserve will move into the black in 2003.

The FT said the forecasts could increase the pressure on Freeserve to find a rich parent. Recent reports have suggested the company is holding renewed talks with Germany’s T-Online about the acquisition of the 80% stake held in Freeserve by UK electrical retailer Dixons (DXNGY: OTC ADR).

Freeserve shares were down more than 7% in early trading in London.

Microsoft (MSFT: Nasdaq)

The software behemoth reported fourth-quarter earnings of 44 cents per share, 2 cents ahead of the First Call/Thomson Financial consensus estimate. Microsoft earned 40 cents per share in the year-ago period.

Fourth-quarter revenues rose 16% to $22.96 billion from the year-ago quarter. Microsoft gained 5/16 to close at 78 1/2 during the regular session and although the price ended after hours trading unchanged, the shares were the most active issue on the MarketXT trading system and the third most active on Island.

Intel (INTC: Nasdaq)

The chipmaker reported earnings from operations of $1 per share before taking a two-for-one stock split into account. Including acquisition costs, Intel earned 90 cents per pre-split share. A First Call consensus estimate was for 98 cents per pre-split share. Intel closed down 3 5/16 at 143 ahead of the report, which came in after the bell Tuesday.

The split is payable July 30 to stockholders of record on July 2. The shares rallied after hours, to 145.5 on Island and 146 on MarketXT.

Apple (AAPL: Nasdaq)

The computer manufacturer reported second-quarter earnings of 45 cents per share, one cent ahead of the First Call consensus estimate. Apple earned 35 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Third-quarter revenues rose 17% to $1.82 billion.

The company experienced strong sales growth in its Power Mac, iMac and portable PowerBook lines. The shares fell 1 1/16 to 57 1/4 ahead of the report, which came after Tuesday’s close. They fell further after hours, to 54.75 on Island and 54 1/4 on MarketXT.

DoubleClick (DCLK: Nasdaq)

The online advertising company reported a second-quarter loss of 3 cents per share after the bell Tuesday, 2 cents narrower than a First Call consensus estimate. That compares to a loss of 7 cents per share in the year-ago quarter and a loss of 11 cents per share in the first quarter of this year.

The company said consolidated revenue jumped 157% to $128.1 million in the quarter. DoubleClick closed down 2 at 35 1/2 and edged lower after hours to 34.5625 on Island and 35 1/4 on MarketXT.

Veritas (VRTS: Nasdaq)

The maker of computer-memory devices reported pro-forma earnings of 13 cents per share, 1 cent ahead of the First Call consensus estimate. The company earned 7 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Veritas closed down 8 13/16 at 127 9/16 during the regular session and slipped further after hours to 110.3125 on Island and 110 ½ on MarketXT.

Rambus (RMBS: Nasdaq)

The chipmaker reported third-quarter earnings of 4 cents per share, in line with the First Call consensus estimate. Rambus earned 2 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Rambus closed down 6 5/8 at 101 7/8 and fell further after hours to 95.75 on Island and 96 3/16 on MarketXT.

RealNetworks (RNWK: Nasdaq)

The Internet-software provider reported second-quarter earnings of 6 cents per share, one penny ahead of the First Call consensus estimate. The company broke even in the year-ago quarter. Second-quarter revenues were $62.7 million compared with $28.5 million a year earlier. RealNetworks closed up 2 at 58 but the shares were not among the most actives after hours.

Commerce One (CMRC: Nasdaq)

The e-commerce group reported a net loss of $16.2 million or 10 cents a share for the second quarter, wider than the loss of $14 million or 9 cents a share reported a year earlier but narrower than the First Call consensus forecast of a 13 cent per share loss. Revenue surged to $62.7 million from $4.2 million in the period.

Commerce One shares finished the regular session up 2 3/16 at 66 9/16 but fell after hours to 58.2 on Island, where it was the second most active issue, and 58 1/2 on MarketXT.

Teradyne (TER: NYSE)

The company posted second-quarter earnings of 76 cents a share late Tuesday, up from 20 cents a year earlier and 2 cents ahead of the First Call consensus forecast.

Revenues rose to $759 million in the quarter from $401 million a year earlier. The shares closed down 5 at 74 but they were not among the most actives after hours.

DaimlerChrysler (DCX: NYSE ADR)

The automaker learned on Tuesday that Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors, in which it plans to take a 34% stake for about $1.2 billion, is being forced to recall more than 500,000 cars and trucks after a raid on the company by Japan’s Transport Ministry, the Financial Times reported.

The ministry said its officials had found hundreds of suppressed consumer complaints about vehicles.

The FT said the disclosure comes as DaimlerChrysler executives prepare for a supervisory board meeting in Stuttgart, Germany later Wednesday to discuss the deal.

DaimlerChrysler chairman has told colleagues that he expects to sign a final agreement with Mitsubishi by the end of this month, the report said, adding however that people close to the board and industry analysts acknowledge that the events raise serious questions about the way Mitsubishi operates.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD: NYSE), Boeing (BA: NYSE), Ford (F: NYSE) and IBM (IBM: NYSE)

These companies are among those expected to report quarterly earnings later Wednesday.