Updated from 10:18 a.m. EDTQuest Software's ( QSFT) first-quarter results and conservative guidance failed to impress investors, who beat down the company's shares Wednesday. Shares of Quest fell as low as $11.83 and were recently down $2.81, or 18.5%, to $12.35. Analysts expressed widely varying views of Quest's first quarter. Some called the company's performance strong, noted the firm exceeded expectations, and discounted its guidance as conservative. That camp also noted the company's optimistic outlook and advised investors to buy on weakness. "We believe the company is positioned to execute well throughout fiscal year 2004 and once again deliver the goods for shareholders," wrote Moors & Cabot analyst Ed Bierdeman, who has a buy rating on Quest. (His firm hasn't done any banking with Quest.) But others were underwhelmed. Piper Jaffray senior analyst David Rudow called the results "a little softer" than the Street expected, noting license sales missed his estimate after removing revenue from a recent acquisition. He agreed the guidance is conservative and will likely go up, but maintained his market perform rating. (His firm hasn't done banking with Quest.) After the bell Tuesday, Quest posted a 16% year-over-year jump in first-quarter revenue, but saw its profit shrink and said earnings in the second quarter and rest of the year could fall short of expectations. Irvine, Calif.-based Quest, which makes products to manage applications and database software, reported first-quarter net income of $386,000, or break-even on a per-share basis, under generally accepted accounting principles. That compared with net income of $2.5 million, or 3 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. Excluding charges, Quest earned pro forma net income of $8.6 million, or 9 cents a share, in the first quarter, up from $4.8 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier.