The markets have been rising in the face of bad news the past week or so, just imagine what could happen if some relatively good news came down the pike.

That's exactly what happened after the markets closed Tuesday, as upside quarterly results from

Intel

(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation (INTC) Report

-- which

beat the Street's lowered earnings expectations by a penny -- and others sparked an after-hours rally.

Looking Chipper

Shares of Intel, the world's No. 1 maker of microprocessors, gained 9.8% to $28.60 on

Instinet

. On

Island

ECN, another extended-hours trading platform, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's shares were lifted 9.5% to $28.50. The stock, which reached a high of $26.73 during its day on the

Nasdaq, rose ahead of tonight's earnings release. But like other erstwhile high-flying stocks, its current trading price is far from its 52-week high of $75.83.

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The market has been bracing itself for some high-profile earnings reports, which would indicate how corporate America is faring in this economic downturn. Monday night was all about

Cisco Systems

(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report

, which issued a

late-Monday warning of lower-than-expected third-quarter earnings, among other things. But there was no room for negativity tonight as investors rallied in unison. Even shares of Cisco were recently caught in the uplift, gaining 4.3% to $17.38 on Instinet and 4.3% to $17.37 on Island.

Likewise, buyers snapped up

RF Micro Devices

(RFMD)

despite the company's wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss. The radio-frequency products maker waxed bullish, saying it would return to profitability in the second half of next year. The company rose 16.9% to $21.44 on Instinet and 16.1% to $21.30 on Island.

The Theme: Beat the Street

Tuesday night's bulls were certainly revving up for some action, as a host of companies whipped out better-than-expected earnings.

Investors cried "Yee-ha!" for

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Texas Instruments Incorporated Report

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, which like its chip rival Intel exceeded the Street's expectations. First-quarter earnings per share was 18 cents, down from 28 cents last year but higher than the 16-cents-a-share consensus estimate, according to

Thomson Financial/First Call

. The market leader in computer chips for mobile phones said it was cutting 2,500 jobs amid softening customer demand and piling inventories. The company's stock rose 4.4% to $35.50 on Instinet.

ONI Systems

(ONIS)

was lately up 11.4% to $$36 after the maker of optical networking products maker beat analysts' expectations for the quarter.

But no veritable gains for

Veritas Software

(VRTS) - Get Virtus Investment Partners, Inc. Report

, which slipped 4% to $55.25 on Instinet. The storage management software firm, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., reported first-quarter earnings in line with the high end of analysts' expectations but revised downward its range of expectations for annual revenue.

"We believe our prior guidance of 45% to 50% annual revenue growth continues to be an attainable goal," Veritas said tonight. "But the weakness in the economic environment is leading us to broaden our revenue guidance range by reducing the low end of the range to 35%, setting the new range at 35% to 50% growth for the year."

The Green Green Gush

Tonight's overall earnings cheer was sending many names square into positive territory. Chip maker

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report

benefited from Intel's and TI's uplift, rising 6.1% to $50.51 on Instinet. Networkers like

Juniper Networks

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and

Ciena

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, which were dragged down along with Cisco in last night's extended session but finished higher in regular trading today, also posted impressive gains.

The triple Q, otherwise known as the Nasdaq 100 tracking stock, lately gained 5.6% to $43.55 on Instinet, a sure sign that bullish sentiment ruled tonight.

And what bodes for tomorrow? The S&P 500 futures on Globex were up 1.7 points at 1212.0, about 14 points above fair value, suggesting a relatively solid start for the broader market tomorrow. The Nasdaq 100 futures gained 4.2 to 1714.5, about 30 points ahead of fair value, indicating that the tech-heavy Nasdaq will open on a robust note.

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 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.