Shares of

Red Hat

(RHAT)

fell in late trading Wednesday after the Linux software provider posted its first-quarter results. Red Hat posted a profit of $13.8 million, or 7 cents a share, up from $12.4 million, or 7 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for earnings of 9 cents a share, but those results may not be comparable to the company's earnings due to the expensing of stock options. Options expensing, which began in the first quarter, cost the company $7.63 million, or about 2 cents a share. Meanwhile, Red Hat's revenue climbed 38% to $84 million, beating slightly the analysts' estimate of $83.3 million. Shares dropped $1.10, or 4.4%, to $23.91 after hours.

Duke Energy

(DUK) - Get Report

shares rose after the Charlotte, N.C.-based company said it plans to spin off its natural gas businesses. The new gas company, which has yet to be named, will consist of Duke's natural gas-transmission business unit, which includes Union Gas and Duke's 50% stake in Duke Energy Field Services. The remaining Duke Energy businesses will be its U.S.-franchised electric and gas unit, the commercial power business, its international business unit and Crescent Resources. The company said it is targeting a Jan. 1, 2007, effective date for the transaction, which is expected to qualify for tax-free treatment to both Duke Energy and its shareholders. Duke Energy also raised its quarterly dividend a penny to 32 cents a share. Shares rose 52 cents, or 1.8%, to $28.90 in after-hours trading.

Arrow International

(ARRO)

lost ground after the disposable-catheter company posted a drop in third-quarter income. For the quarter ended May 31, the company posted earnings of $13.9 million, or 31 cents a share, down from $15.8 million, or 35 cents a share, a year ago. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 33 cents a share. Sales increased 3.6% to $122.3 million. The company attributed the lower earnings to stock-option expensing and the purchase of its U.K. distributor. Arrow also said growth in the U.S. was partly slowed by a relatively mild influenza season. Hospital admissions due to flu cases affect the demand for central venous catheters.

For the fourth quarter, Arrow continues to target sales of $124 million to $128 million and earnings of 39 cents to 41 cents a share. Analysts project earnings of 39 cents a share. Arrow International dropped $1, or 3%, to $32.35 after hours

3Com

(COMS)

posted a narrower-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and outlined plans to cut about 250 jobs, sending shares higher in after-hours trading. For the quarter ended June 2, the networking company posted a loss of $15.2 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with a loss of $58.3 million, or 15 cents a share, a year ago. The latest quarter had restructuring and amortization charges of $13 million, or 3 cents a share. The adjusted loss of 1 cent a share was 3 cents narrower than the Wall Street estimate. Fourth-quarter sales rose 44% from a year ago to $255 million, reflecting in part the consolidation of 3Com's H-3C unit into the parent's financials. On a pro forma basis, fourth-quarter sales rose 22% from a year ago to $304 million. Analysts were forecasting sales of $264 million for the quarter.

3Com plans to cut 250 full-time employees and close 21 facilities in its secure-converged-networks division and take a restructuring charge of $10 million to $13 million. Shares gained 19 cents, or 4.3%, to $4.62 after hours.

Shares of

Alexion Pharmaceuticals

(ALXN) - Get Report

lost ground after the biotech company said the results of a phase III clinical trial of pexelizumab did not achieve a statistically significant reduction in deaths at 30 days following angioplasty. Alexion and its partner,

Procter & Gamble's

(PG) - Get Report

pharmaceutical division, decided in February to finalize the trial with fewer patients than initially anticipated, following negative results in the clinical trial of pexelizumab in patients who had coronary artery bypass graft surgery. The trial included about 5,700 patients, and compared the safety and efficacy of pexelizumab against a placebo in reducing death in heart attack patients who are treated with heart surgery or angioplasty. Shares fell 50 cents, or 1.4%, to $34.53 recently.

Shares of

Paychex

(PAYX) - Get Report

slipped after the company matched Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectations, but gave a lower-than-expected earnings forecast for fiscal 2007. For the quarter ended May 31, the provider of payroll and human resources services posted earnings of $122.7 million, or 32 cents a share, up from $101.5 million, or 27 cents a share a year ago. Revenue rose to $440.5 million from $379 million a year ago. Analysts anticipated earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $433 million.

For the year, Paychex posted earnings of $464.9 million, or $1.22 a share, on revenue of $1.67 billion. Looking ahead, the company said it expects both net income and revenue growth in the range of 12% to 14%. That suggests earnings of $1.37 to $1.39 a share, with revenue of $1.87 billion to $1.90 billion. Analysts, on average, see earnings of $1.41 a share and revenue of $1.89 billion for the year ending next May. After hours, shares fell $1.07, or 2.7%, to $38.50.

As originally published, this column contained errors. Please see

Corrections and Clarifications.