Off-Hours Trading: Applied Materials Stays Hot; Futures Looking Bright - TheStreet

The futures look like they're setting up a positive open for U.S. stocks, building on gains in Europe and Asia.

The

S&P 500

futures on

Globex

lately were up 1 to 1411, nearly 4 points above fair value. The thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

futures were down 6.5 to 4030.

Stocks were solidly higher in the U.K. and Germany, with the

FTSE 100

up 1.3% and the

Xetra Dax

up 0.8%. In Paris, the

CAC 40

was off 0.1%. Stocks were strong in Asia overnight, with Japan's

Nikkei 225

up 1.2% and Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

surging 2.1%. (For more on Asian trading, see today's

Asian Markets Update.)

Action in individual stocks was limited.

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

last traded at 175 1/2 on

Instinet

, up from yesterday's close of 166 1/2, after late yesterday reporting strong first-quarter earnings and setting a stock split.

Last Night's After-Hours Trading

By Eric Gillin
Editorial Assistant

Go ahead and jump. You might as well jump.

Applied Materials shot up 8 3/16 to 174 11/16 on 710,000 shares on

Island

ECN. Tonight, the company announced its first-quarter results and took a cue from

Van Halen's

1984

hit,

Jump

, which topped the charts on this very day 16 years ago.

The chipmaker announced first-quarter earnings of 80 cents a share, better than the 77-cent

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate and last year's 12 cents. Post-close investors rocked out after hearing the news and sent the stock skyward, driving it past a two-point gain within minutes of the release.

The company announced more than just per-share earnings, however. First-quarter income was $328 million vs. last year's $46 million, while revenue was $1.67 billion vs. $742.5 million. Gross margin 50.1% vs. 43.2%. Applied Materials also announced that it received $2.36 billion in new orders during the first quarter.

Applied Materials took another cue from

David Lee Roth

& Co. It also did a split, setting the 2-for-1 variety due on March 15.

This solid quarter extends the company's winning streak.

Last quarter, the last of fiscal 1999, the company beat estimates by 12 cents while semiconductor orders surged 141%. Before that, Applied Materials beat third-quarter

estimates by 8 cents and

second-quarter estimates by 9 cents. And a

stronger-than-expected first quarter set the right tone for what was a winning 1999. The streak continued tonight.

Jump! Tonight's gain is the cherry on a day session gain of 5 7/16, or 3.4%, to 166 1/2, which helped rally the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

late in the day. Applied Materials spent midday in a slump, before rocketing into the close after

Prudential

upped its 12-month price target to 195 from 135.

This analyst love in is nothing new for Applied Materials, though. Of the 34 that track the company, only two have it at hold. The other 32 have it at buy or strong buy.

After-hours gain?

Lycos

(LCOS)

, go get it!

After announcing second-quarter earnings that exceeded Street expectations, the Web-portal with those fetching (but not so fetching) commercials rose 5 1/2 to 74 1/2 on 120,000 shares. Lycos' pro-forma earnings came in at 3 cents a share, beating the penny First Call/Thomson Financial estimate and last year's 2-cent loss.

Revenues grew to $68.6 million, a $70 million swing from last year's $1.6 million loss. U.S. page views increased 23%, averaging 101 million views a day. Lycos CEO Robert Davis said the company had 42 million registered users as of its second quarter.

Earnings season has been a fairly successful time for Lycos, which broke even with estimates during its

first quarter, ending a streak where it bested its

fourth-,

third- and

second-quarter estimates by a penny.

Tonight's gain recouped some of the day session drop of 1 1/4, or 1.8%, to 69 1/16.

The population of Splitsville can count more than just Applied Materials as a resident.

Along with third-quarter earnings of 11 cents a share,

Network Appliance

(NTAP) - Get Report

announced a 2-for-1 stock split. The company rose 4 3/8 to 155 15/16 on 80,000 shares after beating the 10-cent analyst consensus and last year's quarter of 6 cents. This move caps a day session gain of 3 1/4, or 2.2%, to 151 9/16.

Island ECN, owned by Datek Online, offers trading, mainly in Nasdaq-listed stocks, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

.

MarketXT, formerly Eclipse Trading, offers after-hours trading to retail clients of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's (MWD) Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online, Mellon Bank's (MEL) Dreyfus Brokerage Services and clients of Salomon Smith Barney. Clients can trade 200 of the most actively traded New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market issues, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday.

Confused?

TheStreet.com

explains how the rules change when the sun goes down in Investing Basics: Night Owl, a section devoted to after-hours trading.