Shares of Hurco ( HURC) were among technology's winners Wednesday, climbing 18% after the industrial technology company posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. The company earned $7.2 million, or $1.13 a share, on sales of $34.7 million. Excluding items, the company earned $4.9 million, or 77 cents a share. The lone analyst polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 55 cents a share and sales of $33.6 million. A year earlier, Hurco earned $2.3 million, or 36 cents a share, on sales of $28.9 million. For the full year, Hurco's earnings swelled to $14.1 million, or $2.23 a share, from $6.3 million, or $1.04 share, in fiscal 2004. Results for both periods exclude one-time items. Sales rose to $125.5 million from $99.6 million. "I am extremely pleased with the financial results achieved in fiscal 2005. We were able to grow sales by $25 million while generating $12 million of cash from operations and only increasing inventory and accounts receivable by $3.4 million," said Chief Executive Michael Doar in a statement. Shares were trading up $4.17 to $27. Nuance Communications ( NUAN) jumped 11% after the maker of speech-recognition software posted fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street's expectations. The company reported a loss of $7.7 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $61.9 million. On a pro forma basis, Nuance earned $7.4 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $59.8 million. Analysts projected earnings of 4 cents a share on sales of $56.4 million. A year ago, the company, formerly known as ScanSoft, reported a pro forma loss of $300,000, or less than a penny a share, on sales of $42 million. Early Wednesday morning, Needham upgraded the company to buy from hold. Shares were trading up 66 cents to $6.78. Ulticom ( ULCM) slumped 11% after the company posted mixed third-quarter results. The signaling software company earned $7.7 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $15.3 million. Excluding a one-time tax benefit, the company earned about $4.7 million, or 10 cents a share. The results beat analysts' mean estimate of 9 cents a share, but fell short of Wall Street's sales forecast of $15.8 million. Ulticom earned $4.9 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $17 million, in the year-ago quarter. Shares were trading down $1.29 to $10.54.
Comverse Technology ( CMVT), the majority owner of Ulticom, saw its shares rise 5% after its overall third-quarter results were better than expected. The maker of multimedia software earned $38.3 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $299 million. Excluding one-time items, the company earned $37.1 million, or 17 cents a share. Analysts expected earnings of 15 cents a share and sales of $292.9 million. A year ago, Comverse posted earnings, before items, of $17.4 million, or 8 cents a share. Year-earlier sales were $245.5 million. Comverse shares were up $1.43 to $27.83. Shares of Chordiant Software ( CHRD) fell 6% after the company estimated fourth-quarter results to be below expectations, and said it plans to restate past results. The software company expects to report a loss of $5 million to $6 million, or 7 cents to 8 cents a share, for the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30. The company estimates sales of $21 million to $22 million. Analysts expect a smaller loss of 1 cent a share, with sales of $23.1 million. Chordiant also said it plans to restate its financial statements for the previous three quarters to correct errors in the calculation of stock-based compensation expenses and certain classifications of cash flow. Shares were trading down 17 cents to $2.57. Other technology movers included Cisco ( CSCO), up 34 cents to $17.90; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 8 cents to $4.17; Intel ( INTC), down 34 cents to $26.33; Microsoft ( MSFT), up 2 cents to $27.71; Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), up 8 cents to $7.29; JDSU ( JDSU), up 4 cents to $2.75; Apple Computer ( AAPL), down 38 cents to $73.67; Oracle ( ORCL), down 4 cents to $12.48; and Lucent Technologies ( LU), down 1 cent to $2.80.