SAN FRANCISCO -- America Online (AOL) shares were higher early as analysts' positive comments backstopped a solid earnings report.
The company reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings
last night, and analysts from several firms were largely positive on the stock in research notes released this morning, with a number of them raising their earnings and price targets.
AOL posted earnings of 11 cents a share, beating the 34-analyst
estimate by 2 cents and surpassing the year-ago 4 cents. Those numbers don't include results from Netscape, which AOL acquired March 17 in a pooling-of-interests transaction, or other one-time items.
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
Salomon Smith Barney
issued price targets of 200 on the stock early Wednesday, while
topped them with a price target of 215. DLJ analyst Jamie Kiggen said AOL is ahead of its model "on every key metric, especially gross margin, ad/commerce revenue, subscribers and cash flow."
AOL traded to a low of 145 in the first 15 minutes of the session, but was recently trading up 3, or 2%, at 156.
Internet stocks were mostly weaker on the open.
, which reported strong first-quarter earnings on Monday, was off 11 1/4, or 5%, at 198. Also,
, which bested first-quarter earnings estimates by 3 cents last night, was down 7 7/8, or 7%, at 108 7/16.
report its earnings after the close today. Shares of the company were down 6 7/8, or 3%, at 199 in early action.
Merrill Bullish on KLA-Tencor and Micron
was trading higher early today after
made it its focus stock selection. Merrill said the company continues to be "the name" in process control, and the firm set a 12-month price target of 65. The stock was up 1 3/16, or 2%, at 55 1/8 in early trading.
Merrill also had kind words for
, resuming its coverage of the stock with an accumulate rating for the intermediate and long terms. Merrill said it expects earnings prospects to improve by the November quarter and that investors "should begin to accumulate the shares now." Shares of Micron were lately up 1 3/4, or 5%, at 37 1/2.
More From the H&Q Conference
Among the companies slated to report today at the ongoing
Hambrecht & Quist Technology Conference
Cadence Design Systems
, which was scheduled to present this morning, has postponed until Thursday to give its newly elected CEO, Ray Bingham, a chance to prepare. The company will replace
will have coverage throughout the