Negative surprises took center stage tonight as a plethora of late-day announcements sent investors jumping for cover.

Volume was modest, but the optical sector was aglow in red as players received a one-two punch from struggling telecom-equipment makers. The first came after the close from the world's largest fiber-optic cable maker

Corning

(GLW) - Get Report

, which

announced today it was axing 1,000 jobs, closing three plants and taking about $5.1 billion worth of charges in a bid to cut back on its once-thriving photonic technologies business.

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Shares of Corning, the company that invented fiber-optic cable more than 20 years ago, were halted briefly in after-hours trading, but recently were down 4.8% to $14.37 on Instinet. The shares ended the day at $15.10 on the

Big Board. The company also said it expects the "dramatic reduction of infrastructure spending across the telecommunications industry" to last 12 to 18 months.

Following through with the bad news was France's telecom equipment maker

Alcatel

(ALA)

, which chimed in after the closing bell by saying it would hand out about 2,500 pink slips to its workforce in the U.S., representing about 16% of its workforce here. The company also said it will be closing a manufacturing plant as a consequence of the abysmal economy.

Alcatel's shares weren't moving in tonight's ECN platforms, but those of its rivals were taking a beating.

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

was the most heavily traded stock on Instinet, where it was lately off 2.6% to $11.43, and the second most-heavily traded on

Island

ECN, where it was down 2.8% to $11.41.

Ciena

(CIEN) - Get Report

gave up 0.7% to $32 on Instinet.

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

was down 0.2% to $28.00 on both Instinet and Island, while

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

was flat on Instinet and down 0.1% to $17.23 on Island.

Meanwhile,

Newport

(NEWP)

, which makes products for testing and assembling fiber optics and chips, rose 7.2% to $25.79 on Island after the company said it was going to take a third-quarter charge as a result of job cuts affecting about 10% of its workforce.

Blue Martini Software

(BLUE) - Get Report

was another mover in the extended session, falling 10.3% to $2.14 on Island in the wake of its second-quarter earnings warning, as well as more layoffs and cost-cutting measures.

The telecom sector has been one of the hardest-hit by the global economic slowdown, yet the earnings announcements that hit the late wires tonight showed that weakness isn't limited to tech and telecom. Low-budget retailer

Factory 2-U

(FTUS)

was trounced in the after-hours platforms after it posted lower same-store sales figures and forecast sharply lower-than-expected second-quarter earnings in the range of 3 cents to 5 cents a share, compared with 20 cents a share in the year-ago period. Analysts on average produced a consensus estimate of 19 cents a share, according to

Thomson Financial/First Call

. The stock recently tumbled 35.0% to $19.97 on Instinet.

In similar fashion, youth apparel chain

Gadzooks

(GADZ)

plummeted 12.4% to $10.99 on Island after it forecast weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings.

Playing to the same tune,

Guitar Center

(GTRC)

, a musical instrument retailer, said it sees poorer-than-estimated second-quarter earnings, in part due to the current economic trends. Its shares recently gave up 11.6% to $17.50 on Instinet.

While earnings warnings drove the late-night action, investors kept momentum on certain blue-chip tech stocks.

Comcast

(CMCSK)

, which announced its

interest in

AT&T's

(T) - Get Report

cable assets today, lately gained 0.1% to $39.35 on Instinet. Chip stalwart

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and database software maker

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

were also in positive territory. Meanwhile, the

Nasdaq 100

(QQQ) - Get Report

, which tracks the top 100 stocks on the Comp, traded up 0.6% to $42.27 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.

After Monday's Close

AMB Property

(AMB)

announced after market hours Monday that its funds from operations (FFO) for the second quarter were 43 cents after charges, noting that it took a $1.4 million cash charge related to

Webvan

(WBVN)

, which

filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier today. AMB said Webvan was its third-largest customer at quarter-end.

Barnes & Noble

(BKS) - Get Report

announced this evening that its "superstore" same-store sales (stores open for at least one year) for June rose by 4.2% from a year ago. The book retailer also said that it expects sales in July to be lower than a year ago because last year's sales were boosted by a new

Harry Potter

book.

Cardiogenesis

(CGCP)

had its Axcis heart laser for angina rejected by the U.S.

Food and Drug Administration

Monday.

El Paso

(EPG)

announced tonight that it expects second-quarter earnings to be between 77 cents and 79 cents a share, above the current

Thomson Financial/First Call

consensus estimates of 76 cents a share.

Ibis Technology

(IBIS)

, a semiconductor equipment maker, said after Monday's bell that it expects to post a second-quarter loss of 34 to 36 cents a share, wider than the current First Call estimate of a 15-cent-per-share loss.

Mentor Graphics

(MENT)

announced tonight that it expects second-quarter earnings per share to beat current estimates. First Call consensus estimates currently call for earnings of 25 cents a share.

Clothing retailer

Nordstrom

(JWN) - Get Report

said this evening that same-store sales for June rose 1.4% from the year earlier.

Questar

(STR)

announced that it now expects second-quarter earnings to be between 31 cents and 35 cents a share, below the current First Call consensus estimate of 36 cents a share.

Silicon Graphics

(SGI)

said Monday night that it expects its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue to be between $430 million and $440 million, translating to an operating loss of $70 million to $80 million. The 3-D graphics software maker also announced that its president and CFO, Hal Covert, would resign, and controller Jeffrey Zellmer was named as the new CFO.

Transaction Systems Architects

(TSAI)

announced this evening that it expects third-quarter earnings to come in between 1 cent and 4 cents a share, on revenue of $72 million to $74 million and that it will eliminate certain investments, while taking a charge of approximately $22 million this quarter. The software developer said that fourth-quarter results should be in line with third-quarter numbers.