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The Night Watch: Conexant Soars; BMC Software, McDonald's Slip in After-Hours Action


Updated from 7:28 p.m. EDT

A busy extended session got after-hours investors' blood pumping, as twilight traders played a host of stocks in the headlines tonight.

Shares of


(CNXT) - Get VanEck Vectors ChinaAMC SME-ChiNext ETF Report

, a company that manufactures modem chips, flew on


ECN -- closing up $5.56, or 15%, to $42.63. It was the platform's most actively traded stock.

Conexant was also rocking on


tonight, where it was the electronic brokerage firm's most heavily traded stock. It was up $5.69, or 15.3%, to $42.75.

After the bell, Conexant announced plans to spin off its Internet infrastructure business. The company is planning an initial public offering for the new company and gave January 2001 as the target date. The IPO will be followed, within six months, by a tax-free distribution of the remaining shares to owners of Conexant stock.

Also active on both Instinet and Island were shares of

BMC Software


. The software manufacturer traded down 20 cents to $22.24 on Island and behind 23 cents to $22.20 on Instinet. BMC Software closed the regular session down 69 cents, or close to 3%, to $29.44.

Today, BMC announced a joint venture with

Network Appliance

(NTAP) - Get NetApp, Inc. (NTAP) Report

to provide management software for Network Appliances' products.

Although the only news on the software giant today was positive, tech companies' European exposure -- as


David Gaffen

suggested in a

separate story today -- may have the potential to eat into revenue growth. BMCS has a large European presence. On Monday,

Goldman Sachs

cut its revenue and earnings forecasts on


(IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report

, citing Euro weakness.

Market maker

Knight Trading Group


, a much talked about company today, continued to be a noisemaker tonight.

As speculation swelled that Knight could be the next Wall Street firm to be taken over, so did the company's stock price. Shares of Knight Trading Group closed the regular session ahead $6.63, or 22.5%, to $36.06. The stock traded on Island at $37.25 and on Instinet at $36.75.

Knight cancelled an appearance today at

TheStreet Recommends

Merrill Lynch's

financial services conference, fueling conjecture that the company was going to be taken out. (


covered the

takeover speculation in a separate story.)

On Monday,

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) Report

said it would purchase equity trading firm

Spear Leeds & Kellogg

. And this spring,

Merrill Lynch


announced it would buy

Herzog Heine & Geduld


On Instinet, shares of


(MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Report

headed lower, as investors digested the fast-food giant's earnings warning.

Recently, McDonald's was trading lower $1.19, or 4.2%, to $27.12.

McDonald's told analysts today that the effect of foreign currencies weakening against the U.S. dollar could trim 2000 earnings per share by as much as 7 cents. Previously, the restaurant franchise owner, which gets about a quarter of its sales from Europe, had said Euro weakness could shake a nickel off the year's results. The current Wall Street estimate calls for McDonald's to come in at $1.52. (


detailed McDonald's

earnings warning in a separate story.)


-- which specializes in professional and technical books -- hit Island's roster tonight, trading down 33 cents, or 7.5%, to $4.06.

Following the close, online bookseller

Barnes &

announced that it signed a deal to buy rival Fatbrain. (Island did not report after-hours trading in Barnes & According to the deal, Barnes & will pay $4.25 for each share of Fatbrain, whose stock closed at $4.39 in regular trading. Barnes &'s payment will be made up of 75% stock and 25% cash.

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 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.