Packeteer ( PKTR) plunged 33% late Thursday after the networking technology outfit posted a putrid third-quarter performance. The Cupertino, Calif., wide area network application optimization company earned $2.3 million, or 6 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from the year-ago $3.4 million, or a dime a share. Revenue rose to $24.8 million from $23.1 million a year earlier. Excluding certain costs, latest-quarter earnings were 8 cents a share, down from 14 cents in the second quarter and far short of the Thomson First Call analyst consensus estimate, which called for a 14-cent profit on revenue of $30 million. "We are extremely disappointed with our performance in the third quarter," said CEO Dave Cote. "Each region failed to meet the company's revenue expectations. We expect that our fourth quarter net revenues will recover and approximate our earlier estimate for the third quarter. We are confident in our ability to get our business back on track." In after-hours trading Thursday, shares of Packeteer plunged $3.85 to $7.75.