Shares of Peerless Systems ( PRLS) were among technology's losers Friday, slumping 23% after the imaging products company reported disappointing fourth-quarter results and announced the retirement of its chief financial officer. The company earned $1.8 million, or 9 cents a share, on revenue of $9.6 million. A single analyst polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 10 cents a share on revenue of $10 million. During the year-earlier period, the company earned $1.1 million, or 7 cents a share, on revenue of $8.3 million. Gross margin in the most recent period came in at 57%, down from 69% a year ago. For the first quarter, Peerless projected earnings of $1 million to $1.6 million and revenue of $9 million to $9.5 million. Peerless said Bill Neil, who had served as CFO since 2000, will remain with the company until a successor is hired. He joined the company in 1998 as corporate controller. "Although he and his expertise will be missed, Bill has certainly earned the rest and relaxation he has been seeking at his home near Lake Hughes, California," Peerless said. Shares were trading down $2.17 to $7.45. Merix ( MERX) jumped 15% after the maker of printed circuit boards posted third-quarter results that topped forecasts. The company reported earnings of $809,000, or 4 cents a share, on revenue of $95.1 million. Excluding items, the company earned $2.7 million, or 14 cents a share. Analysts expected earnings of 2 cents a share on revenue of $89.2 million. A year earlier, the company earned $393,000, or 2 cents a share, on revenue of $50 million. Excluding items, year-earlier earnings were $876,000, or 4 cents a share. For the fourth quarter, Merix expects earnings of 11 cents to 15 cents a share, excluding items, which is well above analysts' projection of 2 cents a share. The company predicts revenue of $91 million to $95 million, compared with Wall Street's forecast of $87.8 million. Merix shares were trading up $1.69 to $12.65.
Shares of Astea International ( ATEA) plummeted 29% after the software company said it swung to a fourth-quarter loss and announced a restatement. The company reported a loss of $643,000, or 25 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $186,000, or 6 cents a share. Revenue rose to $5.4 million from $5 million a year earlier. Software license fee revenue was $767,000 during the most recent period, down substantially from $2.3 million a year earlier. Service and maintenance revenue, however, climbed 71% to $4.6 million. The company also announced plans to restate earnings for the first three quarters of its fiscal 2005. Astea attributed the restatement to overcapitalized software. In all, the restatements will reduce earnings during the first three quarters by $251,000, or 8 cents a share. Shares were trading down $4.82 to $11.68. Genesis Microchip ( GNSS) fell 8% after the integrated circuits company lowered its fourth-quarter revenue outlook. The company now projects revenue of $60 million to $61 million for the March quarter, down from an earlier view of $62 million to $67 million. Analysts project revenue of $65.3 million. The company expects gross margins of 43%, down from an earlier view of 46% to 48%. The company blamed the shortfall on weaker-than-expected demand for flat-panel television controllers in Europe and digital CRT television controllers in China. Shares were trading down $1.52 to $17. Shares of Workstream ( WSTM) slumped 21% after the business software company posted disappointing third-quarter results and said it hired an adviser to explore strategic alternatives. The company reported a loss of $3.4 million, or 7 cents a share, on revenue of $6.7 million. The company's loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $1.9 million, or 4 cents a share. Analysts expected a loss of 3 cents a share and higher revenue of $7.5 million. During the year-earlier period, the company reported a loss of $3.6 million, or 8 cents a share, on revenue of $6.9 million. Separately, Workstream said it hired William Blair to explore strategic alternatives aimed at maximizing shareholder value. Shares were down 45 cents to $1.73. Other technology movers included Lucent Technologies ( LU), down 3 cents to $3.06; Intel ( INTC), down 7 cents to $19.63; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), unchanged at $21.97; Microsoft ( MSFT), up 16 cents to $27.39; Level 3 Communications ( LVLT), up 2 cents to $5.17; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 1 cent to $5.16; JDSU ( JDSU), up 4 cents to $4.17; Apple Computer ( AAPL), up 19 cents to $62.94; and Oracle ( ORCL), up 2 cents to $13.80.