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Markets & Stocks
Stocks to watch Friday
February 24, 2000: 7:16 p.m. ET

VA Linux posts 2Q loss, but Intuit meets expectations; Motorola enters deals
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - High tech companies were among those reporting earnings after the bell Thursday with the provider of a popular computer operating system posting a net loss despite huge revenue growth. Also, the maker of a well-known tax software program met earnings expectations.
    

    
VA Linux Systems

    VA Linux Systems, a bellwether company for the rapidly growing Linux-operating system, reported a fiscal second-quarter net loss, while its revenue grew compared with a year ago.
        For the quarter ended Jan. 28, the provider of computer servers and workstations designed for the Linux operating system posted a loss of $11.56 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with a year-ago net loss of  $1.81 million, or 44 cents per share. One time non-cash charges related to stock options the company issued before its initial public offering in December contributed to the loss.
    The Linux operating system, which is rapidly growing in popularity because of its ease of use, currently powers one-third of all Web servers and competes with Microsoft's Windows NT.
        VA Linux's  (LNUX: Research, Estimates) second-quarter revenue rose 537 percent to $20.2 million from $3.17 million. VA Linux said that it eliminated virtually its entire manufacturing inventory during the quarter.
    
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    VA Linux shares closed down 2-3/8 to 124-3/4 Thursday.
    

    
Intuit Inc.

    Financial software vendor Intuit Inc. on Thursday reported a fiscal second-quarter operating profit that was in line with Wall Street's expectations on sales that were up 14 percent from the same period last year.
        Before one-time items, Intuit (INTU: Research, Estimates), whose products include "Quicken" personal-finance software, and "TurboTax" tax preparation software, said its net income for the quarter ended Jan. 31 was $91.4 million, or 44 cents per share, matching the consensus estimate of analysts polled by earnings tracker First Call.
        Including charges, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said it earned $57.3 million, or 27 cents per diluted share during the quarter. Sales rose 14 percent to $425.5 million.
        That's a substantially lower growth rate than its fiscal first-quarter, when Intuit reported year-over-year revenue growth of 46 percent.
    For the first six months of fiscal 2000, Intuit recorded a net loss of 8.6 million, or 4 cents per diluted share.
        Intuit provides content to CNNfn.com.
    
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    Intuit shares closed up 4-3/4 to 72-5/16.
    

    
Motorola Inc.

    Motorola Inc.  (MOT: Research, Estimates) announced Thursday that it had entered agreements with 19 content providers to make their services available through Motorola's cellular telephones. Among the content providers included in the agreement are Amazon.com, Reuters Group and Sports.com.
    
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    Motorola shares closed up 2-3/32 to 162-27/32 Thursday.
    

    
MicroStrategy Inc.

    MicroStrategy Inc. Thursday announced a public offering of 6.5 million shares of the company's Class A common stock. Of the total, the company will offer 4 million shares, and selling stockholders will offer 2.5 million shares, the company said.
    The Vienna, Va.-based provider of e-business software plans to use the proceeds for working capital including a $100 million investment in building and marketing its Strategy.com Personal Intelligence Network. The Web site, a subsidiary of MicroStrategy, provides financial information, along with news and other services to consumers.
    Goldman, Sachs & Co. will manage the offering with Friedman Billings Ramse, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Chase H & Q as co-managers, the company said.
    Additionally, the company named Nicholas Weir, formerly of Goldman Sachs, as president and chief operating officer of Strategy.com, and Eric Brown, former vice president of Electronic Arts, as vice president, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer for the new Web site.
    MicroStrategy (MSTR: Research, Estimates) shares closed up 2-7/8 to 157-1/2 Thursday.
    

    
Optimal Robotics Corp.

    Optimal Robotics Corp., Thursday announced it will offer and sell 1.3 million common shares, and certain shareholders of the company will offer and sell an aggregate of 675,000 common shares.
    The offering by the Canadian provider of supermarket self-checkout systems is being managed by Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co., The Robinson-Humphrey Co., LLC, and Raymond James & Associates Inc.
    Optimal (OPMR: Research, Estimates) shares closed up 4-1/2 to 43-3/8 Thursday.
    

    
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    At 8:30 a.m. Friday, the federal government is expected to release the revised Gross Domestic Product figure and the Gross Domestic Product chain deflator, which is adjusted for inflation, for the fourth-quarter. Also, at 10 a.m. Friday, the government is scheduled to announce sales of existing homes for the month of January and release the Michigan Sentiment for February, a measure of public confidence in the economy.
    
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    -- Compiled from staff reports

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