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In an economy of millionaires, what is a penny worth?

Just ask

Inktomi

(INKT)

. The maker of Internet search and traffic management technology posted second-quarter earnings of 1 cent a share. The company ran up 6 to 122 1/4 on 20,000 shares on

Island

after announcing its first profitable quarter, with profits more than tripling. The company lost 7 cents at the same time last year.

If you ask the same question to the folks at

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Qualcomm Inc Report

and

Intel

(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report

, which both posted gains tonight that beat Wall Street estimates by 2 cents, you are likely to get different answers.

While Qualcomm took off after hours, rising 7 5/16 to 119 7/16 on 440,000 shares on Island, Intel was left in the dust, dropping 3 3/4 to 125 1/4 on 340,000 shares on Island.

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Don't start feeling too sorry for Intel: A remarkable day session sent it 6 points higher to close at 129, in anticipation of strong first-quarter earnings. Strong demand for PCs during an unusually sluggish post-holiday retail season helped the world's largest semiconductor company boost its earnings from 57 cents the same time last year. In a classic example of "buy the rumor and sell the fact," a 37% rise in net income and 71 cents a share in earnings failed to impress. Though Intel beat the

First Call/Thomson Financial

analyst estimate of 69 cents, rumors that it missed its whisper number may have foiled chances for further gains.

While everyone loves to talk on a cell phone, they hate to listen to a stranger's conversation in a public place. Qualcomm walked the tightrope of that love-hate relationship, warning of a seasonal slowing in business due to a change in technology. However, the digital wireless communications company surprised everyone, announcing earnings of 26 cents a share and beating analysts' expectations of 24 cents.

America Online

(AOL)

met both the analyst expectations and the whisper number, posting earnings of 11 cents a share. AOL traded up 1/4 to 60 3/4 on 100,000 shares on Instinet.

Broadcom

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also topped estimates by a penny. The developer of highly integrated silicon solutions one-upped First Call's 19-analyst estimate of 16 cents a share, posting first-quarter earning of 17 cents. Broadcom was a big winner during the day, finishing up 26 5/16, or 21.5%, at 148 9/16. At night the stock took a nosedive, trading down 6 1/2 to 150 1/4 on 14,000 shares on Island.

If a penny were enough to buy the thoughts of nighttime traders, we could surmise that pennies means different things to different traders in this fickle market. With a few exceptions aside, the eye-catchers of the midnight market appeared to be top tech names with strong earnings.

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 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT.

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.