Updated from 1:02 p.m. EDT

Shares of webMethods ( WEBM) were among the best-performing technology stocks Wednesday after the company said that second-quarter earnings and sales would outpace analysts' expectations.

Excluding items, the software company now expects to post first-quarter earnings of nothing to 2 cents a share on sales of $50 million to $51 million. Previously, the company said it would lose 2 cents to 13 cents a share on sales of $43 million to $50 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been expecting a loss of 9 cents a share on sales of $45.3 million. webMethods said increased licensing revenue and decreased operating expenses contributed to the upbeat expectations. The company plans to release second-quarter earnings on Oct. 21. Shares traded up 62 cents, or 9.9%, to $6.90.

Perficient ( PRFT) rose 4.6% after the company raised its third-quarter sales outlook. The software company now expects sales of $16.4 million to $16.8 million, up from its previous forecast of $12.3 million to $12.9 million. Analysts had been expecting sales of $13.6 million. Strong organic growth along with solid results from companies it acquired, led to the strong third-quarter performance, Perficient said. Shares traded up 18 cents to $4.14.

Shares of Veeco Instruments ( VECO) fell 10.2% after the company lowered its third-quarter earnings and sales outlook and warned that results would fall short of Wall Street expectations. The semiconductor-equipment manufacturer now expects earnings of 4 cents to 6 cents a share on sales of $93 million, which compares with its earlier forecast of earnings of 15 cents to 18 cents a share on sales of $105 million to $110 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 18 cents a share on sales of $108 million. For the fourth quarter, the company said that it expects sales of $90 million to $100 million. Analysts had expected sales of $117.6 million. Veeco plans to release its full third-quarter results on Oct. 25. Shares traded down $2.23 to $19.60.

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