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The Night Watch: In After-Hours Action, Good News Can Be, Well, Pretty Bad

Three companies beat quarterly estimates tonight and the stocks of all three are trading lower.
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(Updated from 7:18 p.m. EST)

What do




Portal Software





have in common?

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Well, the three technology players released financial results after the closing bell that topped Wall Street's expectations. At the same time, though, all of them traded sharply lower in tonight's extended session.

This evening, CacheFlow posted a second-quarter pro forma loss of 9 cents a share, beating the

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate of an 11-cent loss and surpassing the year-ago negative 22-cent result. But for reasons that are not yet clear, the company appeared to have lost a little "cache" with investors.

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CacheFlow, which develops services that manage the flow of information over the Internet, closed the regular session down 16%. In nighttime trading, its stock dropped $13.81, or 18%, to $63 on


and tanked $14.30, or 18.6%, to $62.52 on



Equally as mystifying, shares of Portal Software fell $4.25, or 22.8%, to $14.38 on Island, on the back of a stronger-than-expected earnings announcement. The software company's stock lost 3.25% during the day.

Earlier tonight, Portal listed a third-quarter profit of 4 cents per share, doubling the Street's prediction of a 2-cent result and improving upon the year-ago loss of 1 cent.

Less puzzling has been



reaction to its fourth-quarter results. In postclose action, the software company announced that it broke even on a per share basis for the quarter, in line with analysts' predictions. Novell earned 21 cents in the year-ago period.

The company said its results reflected dramatic declines in traditional packaged software sales as revenue fell 21% from a year ago. On the night watch, Novell decreased 75 cents, or 10.1%, to $6.69 on Island and Instinet.

In other postclose action,


(INTU) - Get Intuit Inc. Report

, another software manufacturer to call in results tonight, announced a first-quarter loss in line with research analysts' expectations.

Intuit reported a loss of 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of 33 cents in the year-ago period. The company said revenue increased 6% to $187.5 million from $176.9 million a year ago.

For postclose patrons, who've come down hard on companies in the earnings spotlight tonight, the outcome wasn't good enough. Shares of Intuit slid $1.94, or 4%, to $46.25 on Island and shed $5.06, or 10.5%, to $43.13 on Instinet.

Veritas Software

(VRTS) - Get Virtus Investment Partners Inc. Report

, which dropped 9.3% during the day, deepened its losses after the bell. In twilight trading, Veritas lowered $1.94, or 2%, to $95.38 on Island and lower $2.19, or 2.2%, to $95.13 on Instinet.

Earlier today, shareholders of

Seagate Technology


approved a deal to privatize Seagate for cash and stock from Veritas. Shares of Seagate rose $1.25, or 2.5%, to $50.75 on Instinet.

New Era of Networks

(NEON) - Get Neonode Inc. Report

, an e-business software manufacturer, got a second chance with postclose investors.

Left reeling from a

Wit Soundview

downgrade, the company confirmed after the market closed that its financial statements are consistent and correct, both as reported in its Oct. 18 earnings release and its Nov. 14 quarterly report filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission


New Era said the results have been reviewed by its audit committee and outside auditors and "fully comply with generally accepted accounting principles." (

covered the software firm's announcement in a separate

story .)

Shares of New Era took a beating today, losing more than half their value. But in recent action, they had recovered 63 cents, or 6.67%, to $10 on Island.

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. EST.


explains how the rules change when the sun goes down in Investing Basics: Night Owl, a section devoted to after-hours trading.