(Updated from 7:35 p.m. EDT)

Investors, who like all Americans have been glued to their television sets for the past 48 hours, took some time off tonight to pay attention to their stock screens.

In postclose action, PC manufacturer

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

reported fiscal

third-quarter earnings in line with Wall Street's expectations, but warned that fourth-quarter profit margins will be down modestly. After rising initially on the after-hours market, shares of Dell dropped $1.91, or 6.7%, to $26.47 on

Island

ECN and fell $1.94, or 6.8%, to $26.44 on

Instinet

.

Back in October, the boxmaker shocked the market when it warned about slowing revenue growth. But, largely thanks to falling component costs, Dell's earnings were spared. Tonight, Dell announced a $674 million profit, or 25 cents per share for the period. That figure matches the

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate and is up from the year-ago $483 million, or 18 cents a share. Dell's revenue for the quarter totaled $8.26 billion, up 7.7% from the second quarter and in line with analysts' reduced targets.

Additionally, Dell's CFO James Schneider said that he expected the company would show sales of about $32 billion for the full year 2000, higher 27% from last year.

Dell easily topped tonight's most-active charts, with 927,417 shares changing hands on Instinet and 813,177 shares in play on Island.

Elsewhere, shares of

WorldCom

(WCOM)

, which hit a fresh low of $15.50 earlier today, attracted investor attention tonight. Amid concerns about a slowdown in technology spending, the telecom stock closed the day down 81 cents, or 4.8%, to $16.13. But with moderate volume, WorldCom dropped 13 cents, or 0.78%, to $16 on Island but remained unchanged on Instinet.

CMGI

(CMGI)

trimmed its steep losses on the after-hours market. The Internet incubator, which plunged $3.88, or 17.8%, to $17.94 during the regular session, added 6 cents, or 0.35%, to $18 on Island. Last night, online advertising company

Engage

(ENGA)

, which is majority owned by CMGI, warned of slower near-term growth.

Large-cap technology stocks

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

and

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

posted modest losses in twilight trading.

Oracle, which popped $2.38, or 9.6%, to $27.19 during the day, fell 31 cents, or 1.2%, to $26.88 on Island and lost 44 cents, or 1.6%, to $26.75 on Instinet. Cisco, which announced better-than-expected earnings on Monday, gained $1.13, or 2.2%, to $53.25 by day, but lost $1.19, or 2.2%, to $52.06 on Island and decreased 75 cents, or 1.4%, to $52.50 on Instinet.

In the uncertainty of today's political climate, it's tough to predict what will happen on the stock market -- let alone who will lead the nation.

While an analysis of the futures market may not be able to call the presidential election, it can give investors a heads up on how the market will open tomorrow. At last look, the

S&P 500 futures on

Globex

were down 2.8 to 1400.5, about seven points below

fair value as calculated by

Prudential Securities

, and indicating mild negative pressure for tomorrow's open. The thinly traded

Nasdaq 100

futures were behind 48 to 3010, about 66 points below fair value as calculated by

TheStreet.com

, and showing downward sentiment for the Nasdaq's start on Friday.

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. EST.

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.