Stock market players worldwide seem to be coming back from the weekend in a foul humor, with overseas indices and preopening futures trading decidedly negative.
S&P 500 futures on
lately were down 5.2 to 1433.8, about 7 points below fair value. The thinly traded
futures were down 61 to 3634.
Europe's major bourses all were solidly lower, with Germany's
down 1.2%, the U.K.'s
off 0.8% and France's
down 0.6% (see today's
European Midday Update for more). Japan's
slid 1.3% overnight, while Hong Kong's
dropped 2.4% (see today's
Asian Markets Update for more).
was strongly bucking the downward trend in preopen Instinet trading, exploding up 21 9/16 to 57 1/2 on
news that a
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone
unit plans to acquire the 90% of Verio it doesn't already own for about $5.5 billion.
Friday's After-Hours Trading
Volume is typically low on Fridays, and coming on the heel of the lowest volume day of the year, the innocuous activity today was no surprise.
What did surprise was all the hubbub caused by a little ol' software company called
By 6 p.m. EDT, a half-million shares of the California company had traded. The stock's price was up 2 3/4, or 34%, at 8 3/16.
Chordiant Software specializes in e-business infrastructure software that facilitates communication between companies and their customers. The company's motto is one click, one call, one customer and one heck of a Web site. Browsers who attempt to visit Chordiant's home page are treated to a 10-second multimedia extravaganza.
But prior to this evening, all the cyberfireworks hadn't been able to halt the company's skid in its stock price. After debuting at 54 1/16 on Feb. 15, the company hit its trading low today at 5 3/4, before closing down 1/4, or 4.4%, at 5 7/16.
Friday night's action brought relief to the bargain stock, propelled perhaps by a nifty new company product.
The company hopes to regain its equity legs with a WAP, or wireless appliance protocol, the standard agreed upon by most wireless communications companies. Chordiant will use WAP as a touch point into its call center. In other words, the company's clients will be able to use their
Pilots or Web phones to communicate with their clients, Chordiant CEO Sam Spadafora told
"We announced this week to the press that we are incorporating WAP technology," he said, suggesting that it was this new product news that piqued investor interest in the company's undervalued stock.
"We have 80 million in cash and
100 customers. Finally, someone decided to read the most recent earnings announcement," added Chordiant CFO Steve Springsteel.
Chordiant reported a first-quarter loss of 36 cents per share on April 25, missing analyst estimates for a loss of 20 cents. The next day, the company's stock dropped from 8 1/8 to 6 1/2.
Friday morning, the company announced its selection of
to help streamline and automate its procurement processes. Firstsource is a leader in procurement, according to a release. Investors were not impressed; they wapped the stock 1/4.
pulled the plug on
. The company said that
is no longer obligated under a marketing agreement to purchase Plug Power's first commercial fuel cell, after the company made some design changes.
Goldman downgraded the company from market outperform to market perform. The big bad Bear downshifted the name from buy to neutral.
Plug plummeted 5.7%, or 3 7/16, to 56 by day but felt the night power. It jolted 5/32 to 56 11/32 on 12,000 shares on Island.
Plug Power is not a 1960s slogan. It is a high-tech manufacturer of refrigerator-sized fuel cells that run on natural gas or propane and provide enough electricity for an entire house. Fuel cells are currently used to power spacecraft. The company says its technology is a cheaper fuel alternative, better for the environment and can eliminate electricity outages.
Yesterday, Plug announced first-quarter losses of 40 cents per share, missing analyst expectations for a loss of only 27 cents. The company was feeling a little bloated after its purchase of Gastec, a Dutch processor of fuel technology.
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Island ECN, owned by Datek Online, offers trading, mainly in Nasdaq-listed stocks, from 7 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.