SAN FRANCISCO -- Document-management software company
added to its recent gains this afternoon after an encouraging strategic forum in New York City on Tuesday.
An analyst who attended the forum said the company's management clearly understands the importance of hitting its first-quarter estimates after meeting its fourth-quarter numbers but guiding analysts lower for 1999. In reaction to the company's guidance, the stock price halved in January and has barely begun to recover.
The analyst noted that the company continues to have difficulty closing deals of more than $1 million, so it has had to rely on closing smaller deals more frequently to make the quarter. As of now, the analyst said he was unclear on whether the company would be able to close enough small deals to make its first-quarter estimates, he but doesn't plan on changing any estimates right now. The company is in a quiet period before reporting its first-quarter earnings. The
consensus estimate for the company's first quarter is for earnings of 14 cents per share.
The analyst said the second quarter and beyond looked healthy for Documentum, with new products expected to help boost profits.
Documentum shares last traded up 1 7/16, or 7%, to 21 15/16 to reach their highest level since March 11.
Saville Flirts With 52-Week Low
Billing software company
closed in on its 52-week low of 7 1/2 in early trading today on concerns over whether the company will be able to close several large deals by March 31, the end of its first quarter, to meet the Street's estimates.
First Call's consensus estimate for the quarter looks for earnings of 24 cents per share.
Hambrecht & Quist
analyst Eric Zimits downgraded the company this morning to hold from buy, citing concerns over Saville's back-end-loaded quarter. He also voiced worries "regarding product introductions and a rapidly shifting competitive landscape."
Zimits lowered his fiscal 1999 revenue estimate to $215 million, or $1.08 per share, from $220 million, or $1.18 per share. "While
Saville's product introduction schedule remains on track, we await increased visibility on sales, new product acceptance and a turbulent business environment as carriers grapple with data's emerging role," Zimits wrote.
Other analysts were more optimistic. One analyst said, "Since the bar is being lowered, either the company gets back on track to beat numbers, or the stage is being set for this company to get taken out. Both scenarios imply significant upside to the current beaten-down stock price."
Saville was last unchanged at 10 1/6, off its session low of 8 11/16. Volume was above average, with more than 3.4 million shares changing hands.
Technical problems plagued online brokerages today. Both
experienced outages earlier today for short periods of time. There has been some speculation that the problems stemmed from an Internet service provider. Shares of E*Trade fell 15/16, or 1.65%, to 55 15/16, while Schwab was off 2 1/16, or 2.33%, to 86 7/16.
In other broker-related news,
Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette
announced it would be issuing a new class of stock that would track the performance of its DLJdirect online brokerage
unit. DLJ was lately down 3, or 5%, to 65 5/16.
climbed nearly 7% thus far in today's session.
featured Egghead.com in a story
BancBoston Robertson Stephens
initiated coverage of the company with a buy rating. Egghead.com lately traded up 1 3/16, or 7.54%, to 16 15/16.
David Shabelman contributed to this report.
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