Sorry for that irrational exuberance, but after the Internet giant reported stronger-than-expected earnings last night (see below for the details), we can be forgiven for some early morning glee.

After one day that was just plain nutty (Tuesday) and another that was a bit more realistic (yesterday), it's hard to read where the market's going today.

There are several numbers that will be closely watched today and tomorrow, which will likely give the market some sense of direction. Today,

Circuit City

(CC) - Get Report



(AA) - Get Report

-- the first Dow component -- are slated to report their quarterly earnings.

Also today, many of the nation's biggest retailers will release their March same-store sales figures.

Tomorrow, the March jobs figures will be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT. That's always a fun event and we're sure everyone's looking forward to it. For a look at


comprehensive Economic Databank

click here.

For today, the market looks to open a bit stronger. In early action, the

S&P 500

June futures contract was recently quoted up 6.5 to 1512, about 8 points above fair value. The thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

June contract was up 20 to 4080.

Last Night's After-Hours Trading

By Eric Gillin
Staff Reporter

Do you




Well, maybe. But hopefully not Wednesday evening.

The company announced that its first quarter would come in at 10 cents a share, excluding items. All in all, that's not a very bad figure. The guys at

First Call/Thomson Financial

had it at 9 cents a share. Last year's quarter was 3 cents a share.

Despite beating earnings, investors got medieval on Yahoo!, dropping it 5 13/16 to 159 3/4 on 517,000 shares on


and 6 21/32 to 159 7/32 on 402,000 shares on


. Here's a look at how Yahoo! fared on four different ECNs.

Along with the "per share" variety of earnings data, Yahoo! released revenue figures and page view statistics.

Revenue was $228.4 million, better than last year's $103.9 million, while page views leapt to 625 million a day in March vs. 465 million a day in December. That's good news, right?

Maybe not. At least it didn't look that way to after-hours traders.

So why was Yahoo! getting killed in postclose activity?

A very basic answer would be that its earnings figure disappointed investors, who reacted strongly against the company. But that's just obvious, essentially saying that Yahoo! fell because investors weren't happy. Which could best be summed up with a simple, "Duh."

Investors were greatly disappointed because Yahoo! has a recent history of beating estimates by a wider margin. Add those heightened expectations with the most volatility this side of an Elian Gonzales custody dispute, and Yahoo! gets killed.

In its

fourth quarter, Yahoo! had earnings of 19 cents a share, beating a 15-cent estimate. The third quarter was

more of the same, with Yahoo!'s number coming in at 14 cents a share, killing the 9-cent estimate. In that third quarter, back in October, the company's fiscal fortunes were

greeted warmly by the late-night denizens. It rose more than 7 points on Island.

Tonight's movement echoes the reaction to Yahoo!'s fourth quarter. Yes, it beat estimates by a healthy margin back in January, but that wasn't good enough for investors, who promptly took it down 14 points in after-hours trading.

Everybody in losses. Fall into the


(GPS) - Get Report


The mall staple got crushed in after-hours trading, falling 6 3/4 to 42 3/4 on 218,000 shares on Instinet. After the bell, the company said that same store sales were off 11% in March vs. the previous year. Granted, the year ago March was an impressive one for the retailer, which saw 21% growth.

Same store sales data hurt the Gap, but not as much as news that its COO, John Wilson, resigned in a move that the company said was part of "managing restructuring."

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

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


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