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Friday, April 16, 1999

"Nothing is real unless it happens on television." -- Daniel Boorstin

Latest Market Numbers

Hoke's Hoax at PairGain

Federal authorities arrested a PairGain Technologies (Nasdaq: PAIR) employee for last week's posting of a bogus Bloomberg news story about a takeover bid for the company that drove up PairGain's share price by 32%. Gary Dale Hoke, a 25-year-old computer engineer working at the company's engineering development operations in Raleigh, North Carolina, was arrested yesterday morning on charges of securities fraud but released on a $50,000 bond. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. PairGain has suspended Hoke without pay.

According to investigators, Hoke used computers at the company, at home, and at Accipiter Inc., another company where he also worked, to gain access to Angelfire to create a fake Bloomberg page featuring a news article saying that PairGain had agreed to be acquired by ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq: ECILF), an Israeli company. He then posted a message on a Yahoo! message board sharing the "news" and a link to the fake Bloomberg page. It's unclear whether Hoke profited from the hoax, but records show that he has traded the stock as recently as January using online brokerages.

News to Go

Lycos (Nasdaq: LCOS) said it expects to report fiscal third-quarter earnings "in line with consensus analyst estimates" on "strong revenue growth and improved operating results." CFO Ted Philip said the company now anticipates revenue growth in excess of 100% for fiscal 1999. He added that the acquisition of Wired Ventures Inc. is expected to close in early June.

Online services provider America Online (NYSE: AOL) is planning to launch a line of Internet-friendly gadgets, including screen phones, that don't require personal computers, The Wall Street Journal reported. The devices would give AOL users quick access to e-mail and Web pages.

Earnings to Go:

Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAI.B) -- Q1 EPS: $1.03 (before charges) vs. $1.06 last year; estimate: $0.93
Dominion Resources (NYSE: D) -- Q1 EPS: $0.72 vs. $0.72 last year; estimate: $0.70
Eastman Kodak (NYSE: EK) -- Q1 EPS: $0.80 (before charges) vs. $0.73 last year; estimate: $0.76
Excite (Nasdaq: XCIT) -- Q1 EPS: profit of $0.04 (before charges) vs. loss of $0.14; estimate: profit of $0.05
FPL Group
(NYSE: FPL) -- Q1 EPS: $0.66 (before gain) vs. $0.63 last year; estimate: $0.66
Idexx Laboratories (Nasdaq: IDXX) -- Q1 EPS: $0.18 vs. $0.10 last year; estimate: $0.18
Inktomi (Nasdaq: INKT) -- fiscal Q2 EPS: loss of $0.09 vs. loss of $0.13 last year; estimate: loss of $0.12
Jack Henry & Associates (Nasdaq: JKHY) -- fiscal Q3 EPS: $0.37 vs. $0.27 last year; estimate: $0.38
Morton International (NYSE: MII) -- fiscal Q3 EPS: $0.56 vs. $0.46 last year; estimate: $0.53
Rental Service Corp. (NYSE: RSV) -- Q1 EPS: $0.32 vs. $0.27 last year; estimate: $0.29
Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) -- fiscal Q3 EPS: $0.71 (pre-split and before charges) vs. $0.59 last year; estimate: $0.70
Unicom Corp. (NYSE: UCM) -- Q1 EPS: $0.50 (before one-time items) vs. $0.29 last year; estimate: $0.36
Union Planters Corp. (NYSE: UPC) -- Q1 EPS: $0.67 vs. $0.74 last year; estimate: $0.76

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Yi-Hsin Chang (TMF Puck), Writer
Jennifer Silber (TMF Amused), Editor