Xerox's Fourth-Quarter Picture Looks Grim

The tech giant said its earnings could be 40% lower than expected.
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Xerox (XRX) - Get Report alerted investors that fourth-quarter earnings could fall 40% below the 13-analyst consensus estimate of 66 cents a share. In its second consecutive quarter profit warning, the company blamed Y2K woes for denting its high-end printing and publishing equipment sales and higher cost from "customer administration reorganization," which includes bad debt, for the disappointing fourth-quarter earnings.

Xerox also pointed the finger at soft profits from its Brazilian unit due to the country's slow economy after its currency devaluation earlier this year, while citing the U.S. dollar's strengthening against European currencies during the fourth quarter as a problem for European revenue and profits. President and CEO Rick Thoman said that earnings should show "meaningful growth in the second half of the year."

For more on Xerox's woes, take a look at the

story written by

TheStreet.com.NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

After-Hours Trading

Zitel

(ZITL)

had a very big day. The company jumped 4 31/32, or 481%, to 6 1/4, during a giddy day session. Why the elation? Linux, what else.

Zitel unit Diametrics Systems announced that its VisualRoute software would be made available for the Linux platform and investors ran to the company with open arms. It was No. 1 on

Island ECN

, giving up a lot of ground in the wake of today's run up.

The second-most active,

Thermacell Technologies

(VCLL)

rose 9/16 during the day session. That's not much of a move for a regular stock, but when yesterday's close was 3/8, it's a gain of 150%. Tonight's move on Island was even bigger.

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

.

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.

--

Eric Gillin

In other post-close news (earnings estimates from

First Call/Thomson Financial

; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified):

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Student Loan

(STU)

said a special committee along financial advisors

J.P. Morgan

and

Arthur Andersen LLP

are examining an offer from

Citigroup's

(C) - Get Report

to buy the remaining 20% interest in Student Loan that it doesn't already hold.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

First American Financial

(FAF) - Get Report

warned investors that it anticipates losses for the fourth quarter and the first quarter of fiscal 2000. The four-analyst estimate sees the company posting fourth-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share and a 12-cent loss for the first quarter of 2000. The company blamed current interest-rate effects on the real estate market, seasonal factors and a weakening in new order accounts for the earnings disappointments.

Horizon Offshore

(HOFF)

cautioned investors that it expects to post a fourth-quarter loss as a result of declining profit margins and postponed contracts. The two-analyst estimate expects the company to report a 6-cent profit for the fourth quarter.

TRW

(TRW)

said it would assume a one-time, aftertax charge of $50 million in the fourth quarter due to the discontinuation of its

MARC

warehouse management software and its

Cybershield

software security product lines. Separately, the company said it would accept an aftertax gain of roughly $110 million, after trimming its interest in

RF Micro Devices

(RFMD)

.

Offerings and stock actions

Apache

(APA) - Get Report

said it would increase its capital spending budget for fiscal 2000 to $600 million to $650 million, up from the $400 million budget set for 1999. Initially, the company allocated $270 million into its fiscal 1999 budget only to hike up the number due to sharp gains in oil and natural gas prices.

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

said it plans to create a separate unit to sell its high-speed data service in New York in order to win regulatory approval for its bid to be a long distance service provider in the state. The deal to set up a separate unit, which is included in a letter to the

Federal Communications Commission

, was made to guarantee that rival high-speed data link providers would receive fair treatment from Bell Atlantic.

Foundry Networks

(FDRY)

said it set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Miscellany

Northwest Airlines

(NWAC)

and

America West Holding

(AWA)

said they have agreed to match rival carriers in a 3% business fare hike. Two weeks ago, another effort to up rates was axed after the two airlines refused to meet their competitors increases.

TWA

(TWA)

also united with its rivals in the second attempt to raise fares, which was initiated by

AMR's

(AMR)

American Airlines on Wednesday.

Kinnard Investments

(KINN)

said a

National Association of Securities Dealers

arbitration panel awarded the company $16.5 million in damages in proceedings against

Dain Rauscher

(DRC)

, for employee raiding.

Dain announced that it will take a $10.6 million, or 78 cent per share, charge against its fourth-quarter earnings to cover the damages.