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Stocks in Motion: Veeco

Updated from 11:47 a.m. EST

Shares of Sharper Image (SHRP) were among the Nasdaq's losers Friday, falling 10.9% after the specialty retailer warned that first-quarter results would fall well below expectations.

The company forecast a first-quarter loss of 28 cents to 32 cents a share, well below the loss of 4 cents a share that analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been expecting. During last year's first quarter the company earned 13 cents a share. The company expects to post a sales decline in the high-single digits. Analysts are expecting sales of $169.5 million, up more than 8% from last year. For the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2006, the company expects to post a profit of 60 cents to 95 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.12 a share. Sales will range from a decline in the low single digits to an increase in the low single digits. Analysts had been expecting sales of $855.6 million, or a gain of 12.9% compared with the just-completed fiscal year that ended in January. Shares traded down $1.84 to $15.10.

Veeco Instruments (VECO - Get Report) fell 10.1% after the company delayed the release of its fourth-quarter results because of an internal investigation of accounting errors at its TurboDisc division. The company is looking at the value of inventory, accounts payable and revenue items carried on the books of TurboDisc. Veeco discovered improper accounting transactions, it said, as it was transitioning the division to Veeco's SAP accounting system during the fourth quarter of 2004. Veeco acquired the unit in November 2003. Veeco expects a pretax earnings impact of between $5.5 million and $7.5 million for the first nine months of 2004 and said it won't be able to comment on the fourth-quarter earnings impact until the investigation and year-end audit are concluded. Veeco expects to complete its investigation on or before March 16.

In addition to the investigation disclosure, Veeco reaffirmed its fourth-quarter sales guidance of $93 million to $100 million, which is in line with analysts' expectations. For the first quarter, however, the company forecast sales of $85 million to $90 million, which is below the $93 million that analysts had been expecting. Shares traded down $1.90 to $16.96.

Shares of ZipRealty (ZIPR) fell 9.7% after the real estate brokerage firm posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations but warned that first-quarter earnings would fall short of expectations. The company posted pro forma earnings of 4 cents a share on sales of $17.5 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 3 cents a share. Looking ahead, ZipRealty said that first-quarter earnings would range from break-even to 2 cents a share on sales of $17 million to $18 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 3 cents a share on sales of $19.5 million. Shares traded down $1.72 to $15.96.
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