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Tech Stocks in Motion

Shares of Bell Microproducts (BELM) were among technology's losers Thursday, plunging 30% after the computer-products distributor previewed third-quarter results that were short of Wall Street expectations.

The company expects to post earnings of 7 cents to 9 cents a share on sales of $760 million when it reports its full results on Oct. 26. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been expecting earnings of 16 cents a share on sales of $832.3 million. Bell blamed the shortfall on weakness in its European distribution organization. "While the North American and Latin American regions of our company performed well, we are clearly not pleased with our European and overall performance in the third quarter of 2005. We were disappointed in the performance of our Ideal Hardware division in the United Kingdom and our continental European operations," the company said. Shares were trading down $2.93 to $6.87.

Even though the company raised its third-quarter guidance, Arris Group (ARRS) shares fell 7%. The telecommunications technology company now expects to report earnings of 16 cents to 18 cents a share on sales of $197 million to $201 million. Previously, the company projected it would earn 12 cents to 15 cents a share on sales of $180 million to $190 million. Analysts had forecast earnings of 14 cents a share and sales of $186.1 million.

Looking ahead, Arris forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 15 cents to 18 cents a share on sales of $185 million to $200 million, in line with the earnings of 16 cents a share and sales of $191.3 million that analysts had been expecting. Brokerage firm Brean Murray applauded the third-quarter forecast but said it doesn't believe recent strength will continue at the company. As a result, the firm downgraded the stock to "hold" from "accumulate." Shares were trading down 78 cents to $10.14.

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