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Round up: Markets 16th October

Adobe looks cheerful

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The news from Japan is that corporate bankruptcies in September were at their highest level ever, with Y3 trillion of indebtedness. Nevertheless, the Nikkei was up 2 per cent on Friday, the Dow up 1.5 per cent, and Nasdaq essentially unchanged. Adobe is looking cheerful after the failed takeover bid by Quark and the gloomy Q3. Products are rolling out: PhotoDeluxe Home Edition 3 in a Windows edition appeared last week, and a Chinese edition of Photoshop will be released in Hong Kong in November. Illustrator 8 and ImageStyler were also released in the current quarter. Adobe also said its Q4 ending 27 November may exceed financial analysts' expectations:it's anticipating revenue around $240 to $245 million, up from $227 million a year ago, with eps of 60 to 65 cents, beating the 56 cents consensus. The results will be announced on 16 December. Apple was reckoned to have had a good week, with its first profitable year since 1995 and now news that with Mac unit shipments up 28 per cent, Apple is now regaining a little market share -- half per cent so far, with perhaps more to come. An entertaining move was the selling of .tv Internet domain name suffix by Toronto-based The .TV Corporation, on behalf of Tuvalu, some nine atolls, including one uninhabited, in the South Pacific with a population of less than 10,000. There are 236 two-letter country names, cribbed from an ISO list, and include .tm for Turkmenistan, .co for Columbia, .to for Tonga, and .nu for Niue. Not surprisingly, registrations are somewhat more expensive than those for .co.uk or .com. Financial analysts are now looking more carefully at the tricks used in deferred revenue accounting. BMC, the Houston-based business software developer had very good results last week, with revenue up 45 per cent to $236 million in the latest quarter, net income up 66 per cent to $75 million, and eps up to 33 cents, beating expectations by 2 cents. However, it was to no avail, as the shares fell 14 per cent on Friday because of downgrading by Goldman Sachs and Prudential Securities as a result of the quality of earnings, since $124 million of deferred revenue had been recognised, possibly as a result of deals to making it into the quarter just ended. Intel finally announced on Friday it was taking a 6 per cent stake in Micron for $500 million, following rumours for some time. The reason? Intel wants the adoption of Direct RDRAM, developed by Rambus. Micron expects to have the technology in the third quarter next year. The shares didn't move on the news. Baan, whose profits warning last week caused a further fall from favour with shareholders, is being hit with a US shareholder's suit alleging that between January and last Friday, the company used fraudulent accounting methods to keep the share price artificially high. Some Baan managers are also being accused of insider trading. Wall Street has developed a thick skin to Microsoft's legal woes, evidently believing that whatever the outcome of the case that starts today, the bottom line does not look threatened at the moment. Nonetheless, if the situation looks tricky as the case develops, the first to bail out of their positions will be the bankers and investment houses, and this could result in a significant fall in the share price. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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