Updated from 12:59 p.m. EDT

Shares of

Citrix Systems

(CTXS) - Get Report

were among the best-performing technology stocks Thursday, rising 11.1% after the company posted third-quarter earnings and sales that easily outpaced expectations.

Excluding items, the software company posted a third-quarter profit of 24 cents a share on sales of $187.6 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 20 cents a share on sales of $181.2 million. Strength in the company's online business contributed to third-quarter results that were better than expected. Looking ahead, Citrix forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 25 cents to 27 cents a share on sales of $195 million to $205 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 24 cents a share on sales of $193.2 million. Shares traded up $2.29 to $22.97.

Maxtor

( MXO) fell 32.1% after the hard-drive disk maker posted weak third-quarter results and warned that fourth-quarter earnings and sales results would be below expectations. Excluding items, the company posted a third-quarter loss of 23 cents a share on sales of $927.2 million. Analysts were expecting a loss of 20 cents a share on sales of $870.3 million. Looking ahead, Maxtor forecast a fourth-quarter loss of 18 cents to 22 cents a share on sales of $920 million to $950 million. Analysts had been expecting a loss of 8 cents a share on sales of $951.7 million. Shares traded down $1.49 to $3.15.

Shares of

Planar Systems

(PLNR)

fell 7.5% after the maker of flat-panel computer display systems posted mixed fourth-quarter results and warned that earnings and sales in the first quarter would be below expectations. Excluding items, the company earned 18 cents a share on sales of $68 million. Analysts were expecting fourth-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share on sales of $70.4 million.

Looking ahead, the company forecast earnings of break-even to 5 cents a share on sales of about $65 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 16 cents a share on sales of $72.1 million. Planar said that the lower-than-expected fourth-quarter expectations are due to expansion plans it believes are necessary for future growth. Shares traded down 81 cents to $9.94.

Avocent

( AVCT) rose 21.3% after the company posted strong third-quarter earnings. Excluding items, the networking company posted a profit of 34 cents a share on sales of $91.3 million. The company said it enjoyed strength across all of its product lines during the third quarter. Analysts were expecting earnings of 32 cents a share on sales of $91.4 million. A year ago the company earned 32 cents a share on sales of $76.5 million. Shares traded up $6.16 to $35.14.

Shares of

VeriSign

(VRSN) - Get Report

rose 19.6% after the company posted strong third-quarter financial results and said that fourth-quarter earnings and sales would be above expectations. Excluding items, the maker of authentication tools for Web sites earned 19 cents a share on sales of $325 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 16 cents a share on sales of $291.4 million. Looking ahead, VeriSign forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 20 cents a share on sales of $345 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 18 cents a share on sales of $307.5 million. Shares traded up $4.31 to $26.31.

Other technology volume leaders included

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, down 14 cents to $28.56;

Isonics

(ISON)

, down 73 cents to $4.77;

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, up 24 cents to $21.69;

Lucent

( LU), up 3 cents to $3.51;

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

, up 21 cents to $4.23;

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

, up 24 cents to $3.56;

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

, up 2 cents to $12.44; and

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

, up 18 cents to $18.63.