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Thursday, Dec 7, 2023

FINANCE–Dive in Tech Stocks Only Temporary

Scripps Bank Announces Climb in Quarterly Earnings

The recent plummet in tech stock prices, including San Diego companies like Qualcomm Inc., is only a temporary phenomenon and doesn’t dim the bright prospects for the industry in the future.

That’s according to two local stock analysts who recently commented on the recent sharp decline in the market.

“First Union Securities is no longer under-weighting our position or recommendations for technology companies,” said David Phelps, senior vice president in the company’s University Towne Center branch office. “We changed our recommendations on April 13 because the market has come back from an over-bought position and is now in an over-sold position.”

Technology stocks remain the main force driving the American economy and should continue to do well in the future, he added.

Qualcomm, which fell from a January high of $200 per share to dip down to less than $100 a share this month, still has a “Buy” rating from his company, Phelps said.

Mark Roberts, First Union’s technology stock analyst, has estimated the share price of the telecommunications company will reach $215 within the next 12 months. On April 17, it fell to about $98 a share, but closed that day at around $117, Phelps said.

His comments were echoed by Mark Petrie, a portfolio manager with Hokanson Capital Management of Solana Beach, a money management firm specializing in serving high net-worth individuals. The minimum account under management at his firm is $500,000, he said.

“What we’re seeing is many of these technology stocks that had a lot of speculation imbedded in their valuations have come down 50 percent to 70 percent, but fundamentally nothing has changed,” Petrie said. “The demand for new, innovative productivity-enhancing high-tech products is still intact.”

He said the next generation of wireless communication technology being developed by Qualcomm would ensure its growth in coming years. The need for investors to pay taxes on profits run up in 1999 may have contributed somewhat to the decline in technology stocks in recent weeks, he added.

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Results Announced: Scripps Financial Corp., parent company of Scripps Bank of La Jolla, had higher first quarter earnings this year than in 1999, said Ron Carlson, president.

The corporation ended the quarter with total assets of $643 million, net loans of $394 million and total deposits of $591 million, Carlson said.

This is an 8.8 percent growth in total assets, 12.8 percent growth in net loans and 9.1 percent growth in deposits compared to the end of the first quarter last year, he said.

Scripps Financial Corp. is a holding company formed in July 1999 and began listing on the American Stock Exchange in October, Carlson said.

Scripps Bank has nine branch offices in San Diego County. It operates a trust department that now has more than $794 million in assets under management, Carlson said.

That’s a 1.2 percent increase over the $785 million under management at the end of the first quarter of 1999, he added.

Wireless Banking: San Diego-based USE Credit Union has begun offering wireless Internet banking services to its customers.

Linda Baughman, president and CEO of the credit union, said April 19 telecommunications provider Sprint Corp. would sell cellular telephones starting at $99 capable of accessing the Internet to members of the credit union who sign up for service with the company.

The move makes USE Credit Union the first financial institution in the country to offer wireless Internet banking via mobile telephones.

The credit union also will waive the $10 membership fee for new members who sign up for wireless Internet banking. It also will not assess a service charge for the basic wireless Internet banking service for any of its members during 2000, she added.

In addition to employees of the state of California, membership in the credit union is open to residents of San Diego, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Yolo and Alameda counties and to people working in those areas, she said.

The credit union has about 60,000 members across the state.

San Diego-based SensCom Inc. is providing the technology to access the data and perform the transactions, Baughman said.

“Any wireless service provider with encryption technology can use our service,” Baughman said. “There are many companies making Web-enabled telephones that can be used with a wireless service to access our Web site.”


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