Bank technology stocks ended mixed for the week, as investors reacted to economic data that indicated rising inflation and an interest rate hike.
According to the Commerce Department, durable goods orders were up 1.6% for July, better than the expected 0.3% rise. Orders for electronic and electrical equipment jumped 4.7%, while industrial machinery orders - which include computers - rose 2.1%.
The latest figures reinforced opinions that the Fed will raise rates before the end of the year. Last week, the central bank held the overnight federal funds rate at 5.25%.
The news "might help revenue growth" among some technology companies, "but what you have to worry about is that if inflation goes up, then it hurts growth stocks from an investment standpoint," said Gregory M. Gould, an analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co., New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 10.73 points on the news, but still managed to finish up 33.29 points for the week. The Nasdaq composite also closed up 9.4 points for the week, while Goldman Sachs' composite index of U.S.-traded technology companies rose 1.32 points.
Checkfree Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, said it lost over $41 million - $1.02 per share for the quarter ending June 30 - compared to net income of $228,000, or a penny per share in the year- earlier period.
The company's losses were attributed in part to a $28.6 million charge related to the recent acquisition of Security APL, which sells portfolio management software and services to banks.
The Security APL acquisition helped boost Checkfree's revenues for the quarter to $29.3 million, a 132% increase over last year's second quarter.
Checkfree's bottom line could get a boost this quarter from the sale of its securities accounting software business to Sungard Data Systems Inc., Wayne, Pa., for $20 million. The deal awaits regulatory approval, but is expected to close next month.
Checkfree's stock closed at $15.50 Friday, up $4.375 for the week. Shares of Sungard were up 25 cents, closing at $41.50.
Elsewhere, a wire service report said First Data Corp. will serve as transfer agent and provide shareholder services for Wilshire Associates, a Los Angeles-based money manager with about $7 billion in assets under management.
First Data, a Hackensack, N.J.-based credit card processor, already provides shareholder and record keeping services for $370 billion in mutual fund assets.
First Data's mutual fund processing business is growing by as much as 15% each year, and currently represents about 6% of its total annual revenue, Goldman's Mr. Gould said.
First Data's shares were down $4 from the previous week's close of $80.875
The drop in price was spurred in part by a recent Morgan Stanley & Co. report lowering First Data's estimated earnings for 1997.
First Data had instructed analysts with more optimistic earnings forecasts to "bring estimates into line before 1997 starts," Mr. Gould said.