The Night Watch: After-Hours Muted Ahead of Next Week's Earnings Slam

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Tonight's respite in the rapid-fire world known as earnings season must mean one thing. It's Friday! And the rockslide has given way to a few loose, skittering pebbles.

It was just the quiet before the storm of earning to be unleashed in earnest next week. Don't believe us? Take a look at

TSC's

handy-dandy

Earnings Calendar for next week. That'll have you quaking in your boots.

There was little mo' for MO tonight. After being handed down a judgment in a class-action suit this afternoon that exceeded the company's total value,

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

lost 3/8 by day and another 1/16 to 24 5/8 by night.

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom covered the tobacco verdict in a

story earlier this evening.

Commerce One

(CMRC)

is slated to report next Tuesday, and investors have been snapping up the company's shares in anticipation of good news from the B2B company, according to analysts.

Analysts at

UBS Warburg

and

Goldman Sachs

expect the company's sales to grow to $48 million and post a loss of between 13 cents and 14 cents for the quarter. Consensus estimates call for a loss of 13 cents, according to

First Call/Thomson Financial

. The company ended 16.5% higher during the daysession, but fell 5/32 to 69 23/32 on 65,000

Island

shares.

After

3Com

(COMS)

announced today the final distribution ratio for its

Palm

(PALM)

spinoff, shares of both companies soared. Palm shares ended up 8 7/8, or 24.3% higher, and 3Com ran up 9 5/16, or 14.5%. Tonight, Palm edged slightly lower, slipping 3/8 to 44 11/16 while 3Com kept climbing, up 113/128 to 74 63/128.

For more on the 3Com/Palm story take a look at the

coverage out of

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Internet database maker,

Informix

(IFMX)

, got a much-needed lift after appointing a new CEO last night. Jean-Yves Dexmier was ousted after only a year and replaced with board member Peter Gyenes, the former CEO of Ardent Software, which Informix acquired in March.

The company settled up 5/8, or more than 12%, today on the news, a week after warning that second-quarter income would be slashed to half the level of a year ago. After rising in early evening trading, the company flatlined at 5 17/32.

NetZero

(NZRO)

had a good day yesterday, gaining almost half its value on the news that it will be packaged with the New Internet Computer, or NIC, a $200 appliance that allows quick access to e-mail and the Web. NICs are built by The New Internet Company, a Larry Ellison-owned spinoff from

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

.

Profit-taking began last night and oozed into the day session, leaving the company 7% lower on the daysession, leaving room for a 1/16 lift to 7 1/2 tonight.

Gold Fields of South Africa

(GLDFY)

lost 1/16, or 33%, today, hitting its 52-week low. Rumors on trader message boards suggested that the company was going out of business next Friday. Tonight, the South African mining company rose by 1/256 to 5/32 on 22,000 Island shares.

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.