The preopen picture is looking positive for U.S. stocks, with indices hopping in Europe and the futures solid on these shores.
S&P 500 futures
lately were up 1.2 to 1490.4, about 3 points above fair value. The thinly traded
futures were up 13 to 3658.
Europe's major bourses were showing gains, with Germany's
up 2.2%, France's
up 2.1% and the U.K.'s
up 0.8% (see today's
European Midday Update for more). Japan's
slipped 0.8% overnight, while Hong Kong's
dropped 1% (see today's
Asian Markets Update for more).
In preopen trading on
was up 8 7/16 to 162 after late yesterday reporting strong earnings.
was off 1 13/16 to 52 1/2 on its in-line earnings report from last night.
Last Night's After-Hours Trading
Make up your mind already. Head-spinning volatility made late-night traders dizzy.
. The online auction site reported triumphant earnings of 6 cents a share, 3 cents ahead of Wall Street estimates. Revenue doubled and customers proliferated. But when dividing revenue by users, average spending per customer flagged. eBay drooped in early after-hours trading, but reversed direction after a company conference call. It was up 8 3/4 to 162 3/4 on 164,000 shares on
. The company also announced a 2-for-1 stock split.
While most tech companies showed strong earnings, they were dogged by languid revenue. While earnings per share can be manipulated by accounting mechanisms, revenues are a stronger indication of growth, according to analysts.
was hit hard after reporting earnings of 24 cents a share, beating the consensus estimate of 18 cents and 14-cent profits last year. The producer of fiber-optic components and modules sank 12 7/8 to 156 1/8 on 20,000 shares on Island.
, an Internet-traffic-management company, reported profits of 18 cents a share, meeting
First Call/Thomson Financial
estimates and trumping last year's loss of 45 cents. Traders helped the company celebrate after hours by crushing its stock. The company was the night's big loser, dropping 10 to 48 13/4 on 40,000 shares on Island.
also suffered, even after beating Street and whisper estimates by a penny to post third-quarter results of 11 cents per share. It lost 6 5/16 after hours, dropping to 87 on 480,000 shares on Island and giving back about half of the day's gains.
Despite the maltreatment of its fellow techmates,
emerged mean and in the green. Earnings of 19 cents per share were 3 cents higher than Wall Street's guess and 2 cents ahead of the whisper number. Confident Compaq released earnings in the last half-hour of trading to settle up 3 1/4 at 29 1/2. It traded vaguely higher at night, edging up 9/16 to 309 3/8 on
It wasn't cranky night traders, but rather overzealous anticipation of earnings that sent these stocks lower with the sun. Ahead of earning reports, JDS Uniphase gained 17%, E-Tek Dynamics rose 25% and investors gave F5 a high-five with a 13% gain.
, a supplier of telecommunications equipment, rallied on Instinet after topping Wall Street first-quarter earnings expectations by 5 cents at 23 cents a share. Because of robust demand, Nortel saw profits growing 30% this year. Revenue for the company's high-speed fiber-optic Internet business grew 150%, while revenue in wireless Internet applications and equipment grew 45%. The stock pushed up 9 to close at 107 1/2 on the Big Board and kept climbing 5 1/8 after hours to 112 1/2 on 280,000 shares on Instinet.
tumbled 5 1/8 to 57 on 77,000 Instinet after landing between its Wall Street and whisper earnings estimates. The chipmaker beat analysts by a penny, but lost a penny to low talkers at 26 cents per share.
Profit-taking, contrarian outlooks or dashed expectations sent technology names in opposite directions, proving that unpredictability is the only predictable reaction late night.
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.
explains how the rules change when the sun goes down in Investing Basics: Night Owl, a section devoted to after-hours trading.