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Tech Stocks in Motion

Updated from 12:49 p.m.

Shares of Audible (ADBL) were among technology's losers Wednesday, falling 35.1% after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings that were above expectations but warned that 2005 earnings would be crimped because of the company's ambitious growth plan.

During the fourth quarter the audio content provider posted earnings of $1.4 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $10.3 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 3 cents a share on sales of $10.4 million. Looking ahead, Audible forecast 2005 pretax earnings of $3.6 million to $4 million, which excludes $2 million in expenses related to its U.K. launch. The results appear to fall well short of analyst estimates, which call for earnings of 38 cents a share. Shares traded down $9.38 to $17.32.

Network Appliance (NTAP) fell 7.7% after the company posted in-line third-quarter earnings but warned that fourth-quarter sales could fall short of expectations. Excluding items, the computer storage company posted earnings of $62.8 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $412.7 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 16 cents a share on sales of $406.4 million. A year ago the company earned $40.2 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $297.3 million. Looking ahead, the company forecast fourth-quarter pro forma earnings of 16 cents to 17 cents a share on sequential sales growth of 6% to 9%, or sales of $437.46 million to $449.85 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 17 cents a share on sales of $449.9 million. Shares traded down 2.63 to $31.73.

Shares of Stratasys (SSYS) fell 11.8% after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings that fell well short of expectations and warned that 2005 earnings would be below expectations, too. The 3-D printing systems company earned $2.3 million, or 21 cents a share, on sales of $19.4 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 25 cents a share on sales of $18.2 million. The company said that higher expenses associated with Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and higher commission expenses impacted fourth-quarter results. Looking ahead, Stratasys forecast 2005 earnings of $1.07 to $1.12 a share on sales of $84 million to $89 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.15 a share on sales of $83.2 million. Shares traded down $4.15 to $31.10.

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