Day After Earnings Report Finds Sun Shining Less Brightly

Amazon gets more auction-site kudos, while Excite misses its number.
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A flurry of earnings reports late Thursday brought little joy to the technology sector Friday morning.

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

yesterday afternoon reported third-quarter earnings of 71 cents a share, just a penny ahead of the 21-analyst

First Call

consensus. Sure, this was a significant improvement from last year's 59-cent performance, but some analysts and a lot of investors gave Sun the cold shoulder.

Steve Milunovich, the respected

Merrill Lynch

analyst, said he loved the company but was downgrading the stock to intermediate-term accumulate. The stock has almost tripled in the last seven months. At midmorning, Sun was down 4 9/16, or 7.5%, at 55 15/16 in heavy volume.

Departing With a Whimper

What may have been

Excite's

(XCIT)

last earnings report as an independent company Thursday was a disappointment, missing the consensus estimate by a penny. The Web portal company reported first-quarter profits of $2.5 million, or 4 cents a share, not counting one-time charges. Excite is being acquired by broadband cable modem company

@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

and that is one reason Wall Street may not exact a severe punishment. Excite shares were off 9 1/8, or 5.1%, at 138, while @Home was down 4 1/2, or 3.2%, at 147 1/2.

Amazon Romps

Online book giant

Amazon

(AMZN) - Get Report

has already established itself in online music and video retailing. Now its efforts to enter the auction business have garnered analyst accolades.

This morning

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

upgraded Amazon to a top pick from buy and raised its six-to-12-month price target to 280 from 190. In a research note to clients, DLJ said it believed Amazon's new auction business would be one of the "two or three consumer auction sites that wind up dominating the enormous ($35 billion in 2003) consumer auction category." Amazon, the report said, has already amassed thousands of listings in many auction categories and "has done a terrific job of integrating auctions throughout its core commerce site."

Amazon was up 18 1/4, or 11%, to 187. Rival auction site

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

, meanwhile, fell 4 7/16, or 2.8%, to 175 3/16.