Investors were nursing some of Wednesday's more severely injured software company stocks, including

Computer Associates

(CA) - Get Report

, which lost about 42% yesterday to 29 1/2. On

Instinet

, the stock was up 1/4.

Entrust

(ENTU)

was also hit hard, falling 53%. It was lately up 5/8 to 37 1/4.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

, which was blamed for the earnings shortcomings of Computer Associates, Entrust and others, fell 5% yesterday to 104 and was lately fetching that in preopen trading.

Qwest

(Q)

got a boost yesterday after talking about its merger with

U S West

(USW)

and its takeover of U S West's place on the

S&P 500. It jumped up close to 12% to 57 3/4, but was lately down 1 1/4 on Instinet.

The

S&P 500 futures on

Globex

lately were up 4 to 1467, a little more than 4 points above fair value, indicating some positive sentiment heading into the opening.

Nasdaq 100

futures were up 21 to 3731.

Europe's major indices were mixed a little after midsession, with France's

CAC 40

down 0.2%, Germany's

Xetra Dax

down 0.3% and the U.K.'s

FTSE 100

up 0.2% (see today's

European Midday Update for more). Japan's

Nikkei 225

lost 0.9% overnight, while Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

edged up 0.1% (see today's

Asian Markets Update for more).

U.S. Stocks in Europe: Semiconductor Shares Continue to Fall

LONDON -- Will the dead cat bounce?

Not likely for semiconductor shares.

Sector leaders like

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

continued to head lower Thursday in Europe, following a selloff yesterday in New York that was sparked by

Salomon Smith Barney

downgrading the sector.

Salomon analyst Jonathan Joseph warned, in a research note, that the group was likely to see capital spending rise at a time when cyclical shipments would peak. He also expects that slower growth in cell phones, rising inventories and a decline in unit growth will hamper these stocks.

Intel traded down 2.04 euros, or 1.46%, to 137.50 euros ($131.68) in European trading Thursday morning, while Advanced Micro Devices lost 30 European cents, or 0.38%, to 78.70 euros.

Like many U.S. companies, these stocks are also listed on foreign exchanges.

"Solly is the first big broker to come out and say that fundamentals are starting to turn," said Edward Gale, director of U.S. equities for

Jeffries

in London. "I wouldn't expect a one-day sell off and then for these stocks to take off again."

A slight pop at the open is a possibility, but it would quickly give way to selling, Gale added. Indeed the September

S&P 500 futures traded mildly positive, up 3.3 points to 1,466.6 at 6:30 EDT, or 3.25 points above

fair value.

Nasdaq

futures traded up 20.5 points to 3,730.

"These stocks could blip, but I would expect a sell off later in the day," Gale said.

One sector Gale will be eyeing throughout the day is the decidedly low-tech retailers. These stocks have come under pressure lately, as the Fed's handiwork that is visible in a slowing economy will likely check sales and profit growth going forward.

Throughout the day today, retailers will be reporting same store sales for June -- a key indicator of month-over-month growth. Early results are mixed, with

American Eagle Outfitters

(AEOS)

saying sales at stores open at least a year grew just 0.6%, and

Hot Topic

(HOTT)

, another specialty retailer, reporting a 25% jump.

A trader from

Instinet

said most of the U.S. retailers had not begun trading yet this morning. Throughout the day, Gail said, he will be keeping his eye on bellwethers

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

,

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

and

Sears

(S) - Get Report

.

Wednesday's After-Hours Trading

By Angela Privin
Staff Reporter

(

Updated from 7:14 p.m. EDT

)

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

may have been today's most active stock but it was No. 4 on

Island

ECN, summoning a measly 39,000 shares. But then again, volume was sparse down the board.

The software maker danced 9% lower by day after relinquishing some rope in its epic tug of war against

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

.

Investors who barreled out of Softee shares during the eye of its legal storm are likely to slink back to the Redmond-headed step child as the hurricane dissipates to a drizzle, according to

J.P. Morgan

analyst William Epifanio. The analyst downgraded Oracle to market performer from buy based on its inflated value and Monday's departure of President and COO Ray Lane.

Epifanio saw Lane's defection to Wall Street as a great loss for the software company and warned that the days of big earnings would soon be a memory. Shares fell about 3 7/8 to 80 3/16 Monday, after Lane's announcement.

Oracle heard after-hours voices and fluctuated between a perky green and sagging red. The lighter side of the split personality had the upper hand, as the stock rose 39/64 to 72 7/8 on Island and gained 9/16 to 72 7/8 on 241,000

Instinet

shares.

Entrust

(ENTU)

elbowed the Big O out of the limelight after a dramatic 52% slide today. The oops began at 8:08 a.m. EDT when the company warned that second-quarter earnings per sharewould be 2 cents instead of the 8 cents Wall Street expected, due to delays in closing sales figures.

The security software maker was feeling insecure despite company qualifiers that pegged the lower results on revenue timing not lost business. The company said that revenue will be slightly higher than the $29.1 million reported last quarter and will better last year's second-quarter results of $19.8 million. The company will report earnings July 18 after the bell.

Goldman Sachs

cut Entrust to market performer and dropped it off its recommended list.

The late-night search for self-esteem was stemmed as traders continued to lose faith after the day's slaughter. The tech firm fell 3/16 to 36 1/2 on 45,000 Island shares.

BMC Software

(BMCS)

lost almost 40% during the day session, maimed by the same beast that cut down Entrust, disappointment.

The business software company hit a 52-week-low today after shedding a third of its market cap on warnings that first-quarter profits may sink 57% below last's year's results on weakness in the mainframe business. Translated into shiny pennies, this quarter's earnings will be 18 cents to 21 cents a share compared with 42 cents at the same time last year. Analysts reckoned that the company would earn 46 cents a share this time around.

And we all know what happens when companies defy the psychic visions of the Wall Street consensus Mafia.

Despite its two broken legs, BMC limped higher earlier in the session, lost its crutches then again found some support. It ended 1/2 higher to 21 13/16 on 47,000 Island shares.

TheStreet.com

covered BMC and the other earnings warnings that roiled today's market earlier.

Phone carrier equipment makers saw a smackdown today that left a red mark on

Redback

(RBAK)

. The California-based company was the session's biggest loser among smaller equipment manufactures, falling 14%. There was no late-night comeback for Redback, which continued to fall 1 5/32 to 149 1/8 on 11,000 shares.

Money can't buy love, but it sure as heck can snag a place on the

S&P 500. After a volatile day that ended 11% into the green

Qwest Communications

(Q)

took is place on the closely watched large-cap index, replacing

U S West

after buying the company. The merger was completed Friday, with 882 million shares issued in a deal that swapped 1.73 shares of Qwest for each U S West share.

As usual, the day-long celebration of the Q's S&P debut was exhausted by night and mild profit-taking set in. The broadband Internet communications company fell 3/4 to 57 1/4 on 2.3 million Instinet shares.

Things are bigger in Texas. Dallas-based

Paging Network

(PAGE)

spiked almost 27% or 17/64 today, dipped into the red then rebounded 7/256 to 1 71/256. Though it was the most popular stock on Island there was no news to explain it. The swells of rumor that usually clog trader message boards were replaced with questions. Company officials were not available for comment. But then again, after 4 p.m. on a scorching Texas afternoon, even executives at a wireless paging company tend to misplace their beepers.

Tech had a bad day today, and Canadian fiber-optic firm

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

got caught in the selloff. Late in the session

Thomas Weisel Partners

initiated coverage on the company with a strong buy rating based on a strong demand environment and an aggressive management team. The news was not enough to dig the company out of its daytime hole but lifted it 2 to 121 1/8 on 16,000 shares on Island.

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 7 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.