After a slight dip to the downside in the opening minutes of the after-hours trading market, the day's positive vibes eventually brought stocks back into the green, though mainly in light volume. Three days of declines in the market were followed up by a

tech-led rally today, which continued into the after-hours, helped along by some post-market earnings announcements.

With last night's earnings warning from

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

signaling the official start of pre-announcement season,

Altera Corp.

(ALTR) - Get Report

took the opportunity to issue its own warning. After the market closed tonight, the manufacturer of specialty computer chips known as programmable logic devices warned that its sales in the fiscal second-quarter would fall well short of current forecasts.

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Blaming a greater-than-expected drop in sales outside of the U.S. for the shortfall, the company said that second-quarter revenues would likely decline by 25% from the first quarter's sales figure of $287.4 million. Prior to this announcement, the company had guided analysts to expect a 20% decline. Those gloomy numbers just couldn't shake the sunshiny feeling surrounding traders, though, as the stock traded up 8 cents, or 0.3%, to $24.08 on


, and up a penny on

Island ECN


Another post-close announcement came from

FuelCell Energy

(FCEL) - Get Report

, which makes fuel cells for electric power generation. The company reported a loss of $5.1 million, or 32 cents a share, in its second quarter -- a wider loss compared to the loss of $1.7 million, or 13 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Investors must have liked the fact that the company's total revenues for the quarter rose 33% to $6.5 million, though, because the stock rose by 2.8%, or $2.05, to $76.02 on Island, and by a slightly higher 3.0%, or $2.23, to $76.20 on Instinet.

Semiconductor equipment maker

Novellus Systems


also issued a release tonight, reaffirming its guidance for the current quarter. Traders found the upside in this, and pushed the stock higher to $49.25, a gain of 2.8%, on Instinet, and up 3.2% to $49.43 on Island.

Despite a

reduction in earnings estimates this morning from

Robertson Stephens



(ORCL) - Get Report

managed to rally 5.4% during the day. But the negative analyst report caught up to the software maker in the after-hours, as the stock took a hit and fell 9 cents, or 0.6% to $15.21 on Instinet. Sun Microsystems, the server giant whose earnings warning sparked yesterday's sell-off, gained in tonight's after-hours, climbing 0.9%, a 15 cent rise, to $16.62 on Instinet.

Finally, a few penny stocks crept into the top volume traders list on Island during the evening commute. Online lottery ticker processor



jumped 25.0% higher tonight, gaining eight cents to a total price tag of 40 cents on no visible news.

24/7 Media


, which warned of lower-than-expected revenue but a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss last night, climbed 32.4% during the regular trading day, and added another 12.2%, or 6 cents, to 55 cents, in the after-hours.

Island ECN offers trading, mainly in Nasdaq-listed stocks, from 7 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.