As this week winds down, there will be several technology companies checking in with their third quarter (Q3) earnings. Their results not only have the potential to energize their stock prices, but also the equity markets at large. Here are four stocks in the tech sector for investors to keep an eye on in the coming days. (For more on the tech industry, check out A Primer On Investing In The Tech Industry.)

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Windows of Opportunity
On Thursday, after the market close, Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) is slated to check in with its fiscal first quarter earnings. The consensus among analysts is that the company will report a 9.7% improvement in earnings per share (EPS) on a 6.5% gain in total revenue when compared to the year-ago quarter. MSFT shares are down about 3% year to date.

Microsoft has its work cut out as it strives to answer rival Google (Nasdaq:GOOG), which is coming off a big quarter of its own last week. The companies are likely to continue to battle each other in everything, from web browser space to operating systems, for the foreseeable future. Microsoft continues to be a suitable play for income investors with its 2.9% dividend yield and recent announcement of a 25% increase in its quarterly dividend payment amount.

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is also scheduled to announce its quarterly results on Thursday. Wall Street is calling for the company to weigh in with a net loss of 1 cent per share versus a 14 cents per share profit in the prior year quarter. Total revenue is expected to decline by 12.5%. Shares of Nokia have plummeted over 40% so far this year.

Memory Lane
The flash memory storage company SanDisk (Nasdaq:SNDK) will release its Q3 results after the closing bell on Thursday. EPS is expected to be down 17.7% from the year-ago quarter, but total revenue is expected to advance by 14.9%.

The company is fresh off of a Q2, which brought record quarterly revenue and a focus on cost reductions. SanDisk has shown a decrease in sales and marketing costs, but general and administrative costs and research and development expenses have been on the rise. SanDisk shares have declined over 7% this year.

One other technology company for investors to keep an eye on, in the coming days, is Seagate Technology (NYSE:STX). Analysts are expecting the company to report a 13.5% year-over-year decrease in EPS despite a 7.7% increase in total revenue. Seagate has seen a 23% drop in its stock price year to date.

The Bottom Line
It has been a volatile couple of months for the stock market, and the technology space is no exception. The quarterly results, set to be announced by these companies, have the ability to steady their stock prices and build investor confidence. The outlook that these tech names provide will also give us a sneak peek at what is to come from the sector in the quarters ahead. (For more on earnings, check out Earnings Forecasts: A Primer.)

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Tickers in this Article: MSFT, GOOG, NOK, SNDK, STX

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