Shares of Linktone ( LTON) were among technology's losers Wednesday, tumbling 22% after the Chinese maker of wireless entertainment products cut its fourth-quarter earnings projection. The company now expects to report fourth-quarter earnings of 3 cents to 4 cents per American Depository share, down from earlier guidance of 15 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 16 cents a share. For all of 2005, the company estimates earnings of 43 cents to 44 cents a share, down from an earlier view of 54 cents a share. Analysts expect full-year earnings of 57 cents a share. The company projects fourth-quarter sales of $20.4 million to $20.6 million, in line with its previous forecast of $20.5 million. Linktone attributed the earnings shortfall to higher costs in its wireless value-added services, lower-than-expected sales in several provinces in China, and increased costs associated with media advertising. Shares were trading down $2.04 to $7.21. Google ( GOOG) fell 9% after the search giant posted disappointing fourth-quarter earnings that left investors gasping for air. The company posted earnings of $372 million, or $1.22 a share, on revenue of $1.29 billion, which excludes commissions that Google pays to its Web site advertising partners. Excluding items, the company earned $469 million, or $1.54 a share. Analysts expected earnings of $1.76 a share and revenue of $1.29 billion. During the year-earlier period, the company earned $204.1 million, or 71 cents a share. The company said it was hit by a higher-than-expected tax rate. Shares recently were down $37.29 to $395.37. Shares of SigmaTel ( SGTL) slumped 12% after the chipmaker posted mixed fourth-quarter results and warned that first-quarter results would be well below expectations. The company's fourth-quarter net profit fell to $4.6 million, or 12 cents a share, from $19.5 million, or 52 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items, the company earned $6 million, or 16 cents a share, a penny above estimates. Sales rose to $82 million from $78.6 million, but missed analysts' projection of $83.8 million.
Looking ahead, SigmaTel expects a first-quarter loss of 10 cents to 17 cents a share, or a loss of 1 cent to 8 cents a share after excluding stock-based compensation expense and amortization. The company sees first-quarter sales of $52 million to $60 million. Analysts were projecting a profit of 10 cents a share and sales of $76.2 million. Shares were trading down $1.54 to $11.24. Witness Systems ( WITS) jumped 20% after the software maker posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. The company earned $4.9 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $50.9 million. Excluding items, the company earned 21 cents a share on sales of $49.8 million, which excludes hardware sales. Analysts expected earnings of 20 cents a share and sales of $49.8 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $4.5 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $38.7 million. Excluding items, the company had year-earlier earnings of 13 cents a share and sales of $36.6 million. For the first quarter, Witness Systems projects earnings of 18 cents to 19 cents a share, at or above analysts' average forecast of 18 cents. The company targets sales of $49 million to $50 million, bracketing Wall Street's prediction of $49.5 million. Shares were trading up $3.97 to $23.91. Shares of Symantec ( SYMC) fell 9% after the security software maker posted mixed third-quarter results and issued a fourth-quarter guidance below Wall Street's expectation. The company earned $90.7 million, or 8 cents a share, on pro forma sales of $1.25 billion, which includes $104 million of deferred revenue related to its acquisition of Veritas Software. Excluding items, Symantec earned $282 million, or 26 cents a share. Analysts expected earnings of 25 cents a share, with sales of $1.27 billion. During the year-earlier period, the company earned $269 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $1.19 billion.
Symantec predicts fourth-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share and pro forma sales of $1.25 billion to $1.28 billion. Analysts project earnings of 26 cents a share and sales of $1.3 billion. Symantec shares were trading at $16.77, down $1.61. Other technology movers included Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 9 cents to $4.59; Cisco ( CSCO), down 6 cents to $18.51; Microsoft ( MSFT), down 32 cents to $27.83; Intel ( INTC), up 3 cents to $21.29; Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 11 cents to $5.56; Oracle ( ORCL), down 14 cents to $12.43; Yahoo! ( YHOO), up 31 cents to $34.69; Flextronics ( FLEX), down 23 cents to $10.23; Applied Materials ( AMAT), up 3 cents to $19.08; JDSU ( JDSU), down 2 cents to $3.10; Apple Computer ( AAPL), up 4 cents to $75.55; Lucent Technologies ( LU), unchanged at $2.64.