Updated from 1:16 p.m. EDTShares of Innovative Solutions & Support ( ISSC) were among the best-performing technology stocks Thursday, rising 6.6% after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations. The maker of flight information computers and other aviation equipment earned 37 cents a share on sales of $14.4 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 29 cents a share on sales of $13.7 million. A year ago the company earned 23 cents a share on sales of $10.1 million. Strong sales of the company's air data flight information computers helped propel fourth-quarter earnings results. Shares traded up $1.72 to $27.93. Netflix ( NFLX) rose 14% after the company raised subscriber and sales estimates for the fourth quarter. The DVD rental service company now expects fourth-quarter subscribers of 2.45 million to 2.65 million, up from previous guidance of 2.3 million to 2.5 million. Sales are expected to be $139 million to $143 million, up from previous guidance of $138 million to $142 million. Netflix attributed the better subscriber outlook to a recent price cut. Despite raising its subscriber and sales estimates higher, Netflix lowered its fourth-quarter earnings range to 3 cents to 8 cents a share from an earlier estimate of 3 cents to 9 cents a share. Analysts had expected earnings of 10 cents a share. Shares traded up $1.46 to $11.92. Shares of Plato Learning ( TUTR) fell 5.2% after the company announced the departure of a high-profile executive for the second time in a week. The provider of e-learning products said that John Murray, its chairman and CEO, is leaving the company by mutual agreement. Plato said the departure "would be in the best interest of both parties." David Smith will assume Murray's position on an interim basis until a permanent CEO is found. Murray's departure comes just a week after Chief Financial Officer Greg Melsen announced his resignation and the company warned that fourth-quarter results would fall below expectations. Shares traded down 39 cents to $7.05.
XM Satellite Radio ( XMSR) fell 2.3% after the company said it would sell $300 million in 1.75% convertible senior notes due 2009. The company said proceeds from the private placement would be used for general corporate purposes. The debt will be convertible into common stock at a conversion price of $50 a share. Shares traded down 83 cents to $34.65. Shares of Iowa Telecommunications ( IWA) rose 9.5% on its first day of trading as a public company. The telecom company priced 19.1 million shares at $19 apiece, raising about $360 million in proceeds. Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch led the underwriting syndicate. Shares traded up $1.80 to $20.80. Other technology volume leaders included Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), down 23 cents to $4.72; Applied Materials ( AMAT), up 31 cents to $17.65; Intel ( INTC), up 48 cents to $24.80; Lucent ( LU), up 18 cents to $4.13; Microsoft ( MSFT), down 10 cents to $27.07; Cisco ( CSCO), down 2 cents to $19.52; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), down 1 cent to $5.34; and Nortel Networks ( NT), up 5 cents to $3.33.