If there were positive signs trickling out of the latest batch of tech earnings, after-hours traders weren't finding them.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

bested analysts' expectations by 2 cents and affirmed estimates for third-quarter earnings, but that didn't stop its stock from sliding.

As the most heavily traded outfit on the extended platforms, shares of the chip giant were off 1.4% to $29.47 on Instinet. The QQQ, or the

Nasdaq 100

(QQQ) - Get Report

, which tends to remain flat after hours, lately dipped 0.9% on Instinet. All in all, more than 11.8 million shares had changed hands on Instinet by 6 p.m. EDT.

Investors weren't too pleased about

Veritas Software

(VRTS) - Get Report

, either. The company, which

met the Street's second-quarter estimates but slashed its annual growth target, was slugged silly in after-hours action. The stock lately tumbled 13.74% to $43.49 on

Island ECN

, and was off 13.5% to $43.59 on Instinet.

And tossing another piece of bad fruit into the basket, PC maker

Apple Computer

(APPL)

shaved off 8.4% to $23 after indicating that revenue for the second half of the year could

fall short of its earlier forecast.

And providing more fodder for bearishness,

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

lost 15.8% to $9.07 on Island as a punishment for missing Wall Street's expectations for the second quarter. The Internet media company, whose RealPlayer software plays audio and video over the Web, earned $2.4 million, or a penny a share, compared with $10.6 million, or 6 cents a share, a year ago, amid lower revenue. Analysts expected earnings of 2 cents a share for the quarter.

The glut of high-tech earnings reports was putting a drag on many stocks tonight. The chip and software sectors were particularly soft, as

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

,

PMC-Sierra

(PMCS)

and

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

wafted lower.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

were also those in the red.

One shining light remained green.

RF Micro Devices

(RFMD)

gained after forecasting a 10% upside to next quarter's revenue, as well as profitability in calendar 2001. The radio frequency products maker, whose devices are used in cell phones, posted a loss of 5 cents a share in the second quarter, excluding charges, in line with analysts' estimates, but sharply below the 9-cent profit a year ago. Its shares lately soared 12.9% to $21.80 on Instinet.

Island ECN 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.

Aspect Communications

(ASPT)

reported a pro forma net loss, excluding items, of 48 cents a share Tuesday, a narrower loss than the 61-cent-a-share loss expected by analysts. The company also said it expects next quarter's revenues to be flat to down 5% sequentially, but the fourth quarter should be up slightly from Q3.

Conoco

(COC)

announced Tuesday evening that the company's board had approved the combination of Class A and Class B shares into a single share tranche.

DigitalThink

(DTHK)

reported a loss of 11 cents a share, excluding charges tonight, a slightly narrower loss than in the year-ago period, and narrower than the 13-cent-a-share loss expected by analysts. The online learning company upped its fiscal 2002 revenue target to a range of $60 million to $65 million.

Duke Energy

(DUK) - Get Report

posted earnings of 54 cents a share for the second quarter, above the Thomson/First Call consensus forecast of 52 cents a share, on sales of $15.58 billion. The company said that it sees growth for the full fiscal year "at least at the high range" of 10% to 15%.

Guidant Corp.

(GDT)

, a medical device maker, posted earnings of 38 cents a share tonight, down from 40 cents a share in the year-ago period, on sales of $656.3 million, noting that sales were up 1% due to constant currency prices. The company predicted double-digit sales growth in each of the next two quarters, as well as EPS of 40 cents in the third quarter and EPS of 46 to 48 cents in the fourth.

Interwoven

(IWOV)

posted earnings of a penny a share Tuesday, while analysts had expected zero earnings.

Millennium Pharmaceuticals

(MLNM)

reported a second-quarter loss of 14 cents a share this evening, an EPS figure narrower than the 17-cent-per-share loss expected by analysts.

Pitney-Bowes

(PBI) - Get Report

reported second-quarter earnings of 58 cents a share after the market closed Tuesday, matching analyst expectations. The company's revenue increased to $1.02 billion in the quarter, vs. $997.6 million in the year-ago period. The company forecast earnings of 59 to 60 cents a share in the next quarter, and earnings between $2.35 and $2.37 for the full fiscal year.

Plantronics

(PLT) - Get Report

warned tonight that second-quarter revenues likely will be in the $72 million to $77 million range, with earnings in the 10- cents-to-14-cents-a-share range. Current estimates call for earnings of 16 cents a share.

Furniture manufacturer

Rowe

(ROW)

revised its second-quarter earnings results to a loss of 37 cents a share from its prior report of a loss of 17 cents a share.

Stryker

(SYK) - Get Report

earned 32 cents a share in the second quarter, in line with consensus analyst estimates.

Medical service owner and operator

Universal Health Services

(UHS) - Get Report

reported earnings of 51 cents a share tonight, above the 47 cents a share expected by analysts.

U.S. Bancorp

(USB) - Get Report

reported earnings of 49 cents a share Tuesday, above the Thomson/First Call consensus estimate of 43 cents a share.