Shares of Sigma Designs ( SIGM) were among technology's losers Wednesday, slumping 15% after the digital media processor company posted fourth-quarter earnings that were below expectations. The company earned $490,000, or 2 cents a share, on revenue of $10.5 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 4 cents a share and revenue of $10.4 million. A year earlier, the company's loss totaled $17,000, or less than a penny a share, on revenue of $7.9 million. Shares were trading down $2.39 to $13.48. Shares of Logitech International ( LOGI) rose 2% after the maker of computer mice announced the hiring of Mark Hawkins as chief financial officer. Hawkins will replace Kristen Onken, who is retiring at the end of April. Hawkins' appointment is effective April 3. Hawkins most recently worked at Dell ( DELL), where he served as vice president of finance for worldwide procurement and logistics. Before that, he served as financial chief of Dell's U.S. consumer group unit. Logitech shares were trading up 96 cents to $40.34. China TechFaith ( CNTF) shares jumped nearly 11% after the company announced a joint venture with Qualcomm ( QCOM) in China. The new company, TechFaith Software China, will focus on developing software for wireless devices. China TechFaith and Qualcomm will invest up to $35 million in the company. China TechFaith shares recently were up $1.29 to $13.50, while Qualcomm rose 15 cents to $49.74. Applied Materials ( AMAT) rose modestly after the chip-equipment maker announced a new $5 billion stock buyback plan and raised its quarterly dividend. The new buyback plan, which runs over the next three years, replaces the company's $4 billion buyback plan that was announced in March 2005. As for the dividend, Applied Materials will now make a quarterly payment of 5 cents a share, up from 3 cents a share. The dividend is payable June 8 to shareholders of record on May 18. "These increases in the cash dividend and stock buyback program reflect our confidence in both the near- and long-term prospects for Applied Materials," the company said. "We are committed to returning value to stockholders in various ways, including through our growth strategy, operational excellence and ability to generate and manage strong cash flow." Shares were up 6 cents to $17.57.
DRS Technologies ( DRS) rose 2% after the maker of military electronics announced new orders worth about $11 million. The orders call for the company to provide logistics support for U.S. Air Force tunner loaders. The latest orders follow a $139 million Army contract that the company announced on Tuesday. Shares were trading up 92 cents to $56.42. Shares of Nextest Systems ( NEXT) rose about 10% on their first day of trading. The company priced 5.4 million shares at $14 apiece in its initial public offering, raising about $76 million. The pricing came in at the bottom of its proposed range of $14 to $16 a share. Nextest, which makes equipment used by semiconductor companies, sold 4 million shares in the offering, while existing shareholders sold the rest. Merrill Lynch acted as sole book-running agent for the deal; Cowen & Co., and Needham & Co. acted as co-managers. Nextest shares recently traded at $15.40, up $1.40. Other technology movers included Microsoft ( MSFT), down 68 cents to $27.06; Intel ( INTC), down 1 cent to $19.77; Oracle ( ORCL), up 19 cents to $13.81; Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 15 cents to $4.97; JDSU ( JDSU), up 5 cents to $4.03; Apple Computer ( AAPL), up $1.08 to $62.89; Lucent Technologies ( LU), up 1 cent to $2.81; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 5 cents to $4.77; and Cisco Systems ( CSCO), unchanged at $21.41.