The U.S. markets are once again trying to find the footing to bounce back from a big tech selloff, with the futures strong(ish) and individual names gaining. But we saw how that worked out yesterday.

The

S&P 500 futures

on

Globex

lately were up 3.9 to 1459.9, more than 5 points above fair value. The thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

futures were down 3 to 3582.

Midsession markets were downbeat in Europe, with the U.K.'s

FTSE 100

off 1.7%, Germany's

Xetra Dax

down 0.9% and France's

CAC 40

down 1.2% (see today's

European Midday Update for more). Overnight in Asia, Japan's

Nikkei 225

slipped 0.5% and Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

fell 1.3% (see today's

Asian Markets Update for more).

In preopen

Instinet

action,

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

was up 2 3/8 to 80 1/8 and

Gateway

(GTW)

was up 2 to 54. Both were rising on strong earnings reports from last night.

Last Night's After-Hours Trading

By Eric Gillin
Staff Reporter

When the elastic on your socks goes, it's a pretty sad day. No matter how hard you yank up those lederhosen, they'll droop. Put simply, socks that quit are no fun.

Same thing for the stock market. No matter how hard investors pulled on the

Nasdaq Composite Index

and large-cap technology stocks, things just couldn't stay up near the knee. Everything hit the ankle in the last hour of trading, before investors got frustrated and took the entire sock off. (Or should we say SOX, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

, which fell 60 points in the final 45 minutes of trading.)

Tonight, those perky postclose patrons were at it again -- buoyed by the hope that a new pair will stay on track. Most big names were up,

as they were last night. But, that is no sure thing. Just look at today. Go ahead,

look.

Ahead of tonight's earnings release,

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

took a hit. Sure, it wasn't some huge

Lawrence Taylor

career ender, but it coughed up all of its earlier strength and settled in with a loss of 2 1/4, or 2.8%, to 77 3/4. In after-hours trading, the slump continued for a short while, with Sun trading as low as 76 on

Island

.

But those fortunes improved after people took a look at Sun's first-quarter earnings. Just after the bell, the company said earnings were 26 cents a share, beating the 23-cent

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate and last year's 18 cents. Revenues topped $4 billion for the first time, coming in at $4.005 billion, beating last year's $2.956 billion. As a result, it strengthened and gained 1 5/8 to 79 3/8 on 500,000 shares on

Instinet

and 1 15/16 to 79 3/4 on 186,000 shares on Island.

Sun's got a history of beating estimates, at least in the previous two quarters. Check out its

fourth quarter, released on Jan. 20, when Sun edged out estimates by a penny. Unlike this evening, that number failed to impress late-night lurkers. It

dropped like a rock, falling 4 1/2 points that evening.

In its

third quarter, Sun beat estimates by two cents and rose in the

post-close session.

Gateway

(GTW)

grazed just north of its New York close in after-hours trading after releasing earnings inline with expectations.

Earnings came in at 41 cents a share, exactly what those folks at First Call/Thomson Financial said it would be. That number crushed last year's 31 cents.

Gateway wasn't surprised to meet expectations either, and neither should you.

Six weeks ago , the company talked about its financial future, telling the Street that it was comfortable with estimates and that it was gunning for first-quarter revenues of $2.45 billion. Unfortunately, they missed their aim, coming in with revenues of $2.34 billion.

In composite trading, Gateway was a touch higher than where it was during the day, but was still mired in losses.

Oh, so what's composite trading?

Well, it's a little tricky. You see, just because trading stops in New York doesn't mean that it stops everywhere else. As a result, New York Stock Exchange issues keep on moving in other time zones -- these trades keep "counting" towards the day-session move even after the 4 p.m. EDT bell. That's why there can be a discrepancy between what a stock looks like when you leave the office and when you check the morning paper.

Tonight, Gateway slipped lower from its N.Y. close of 51 1/8, off 4 1/8 from where it closed yesterday. Since 4 p.m., it gained 7/8 to 52 in composite trading, improving the day's net loss to 3 1/4.

What does the PMC stand for in

PMC-Sierra

(PMCS)

?

Someone must know, but tonight, let's just call it "Post-Market Corrosion."

After releasing proforma earnings of 17 cents a share, a penny better than the 16-cent estimate, investors created that acrid acronym and dropped the company 11 1/16 to 114 1/2 on 94,000 shares on Instinet and 9 1/32 to 116 on 70,000 shares on Island.

Ahead of earnings, PMC took a big hit, falling 22 1/4, or 15.1%, to 125 9/16.

Juniper

(JNPR) - Get Report

was less pungent after releasing its earnings figures. The Net name's first quarter came in at 6 cents a share before one-time items, beating a 14-analyst estimate of 3 cents a share.

Like everything else with a Net-based business model, Juniper fell 29 1/8, or 14.3%, to 175 during the day. Tonight's gain of 9 23/32 to 184 3/4 on 35,000 shares on Island will help alleviate that.

This information is provided by Instinet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reuters (RTRSY) . For further information, please contact Instinet at www.instinet.com.

Island ECN, owned by Datek Online, offers trading, mainly in Nasdaq-listed stocks, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT.

Confused?

TheStreet.com

explains how the rules change when the sun goes down in Investing Basics: Night Owl, a section devoted to after-hours trading.