Shares of Photronics ( PLAB - Get Report) rose nearly 10% in late trading Tuesday after the company's fiscal first-quarter earnings easily topped forecasts. The company, a maker of quartz plates used to make chips and flat-panel displays, said its earnings for the quarter ended Jan. 29 jumped to $9.7 million, or 21 cents a share, from $4.5 million, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales rose to $111.9 million from $101.2 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had forecast earnings of 13 cents a share and sales of $107 million. "Our first-quarter performance proved to be more robust than historical patterns would indicate," said Chief Executive Michael Luttati in a statement. "We experienced broad based demand for both integrated circuit and flat panel display photomask technology and services as our customers were actively releasing new products and design iterations." Shares were up $1.86 to $21. Blue Coat Systems shares fell nearly 18% after the Web security company reported disappointing third-quarter numbers. The company reported income of $3 million, or 20 cents a share, for the third quarter ended Jan. 31, up from $267,000, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, earnings were 21 cents a share, 6 cents short of analysts' mean estimate. Blue Coat's revenue rose to $35.5 million from $24.7 million a year earlier. Analysts were looking for revenue of $38.6 million. For the fourth quarter, Blue Coat forecast earnings, before items, of 8 cents a share, with revenue of $35 million. The outlook fell short of analysts' forecast for earnings of 26 cents a share and revenue of $41 million. Blue Coat shares lost $4.40 to $20.10 in after-hours trading. Shares of Itron ( ITRI - Get Report) gained after the maker of utility meter equipment beat Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectation. The company said it swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $16.9 million, or 65 cents a share, from a loss of $7 million, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, Itron's so-called pro forma income rose to $15.3 million, or 59 cents a share, compared with $9 million, or 40 cents a share, from a year ago. Analysts expected earnings of 48 cents a share on this basis. Itron's fourth-quarter revenue rose 22% to $160 million.
Looking ahead, Itron forecast 2006 pro forma earnings per share of $2.07 to $2.13, above analysts' estimate of $2.02. The company sees 2006 revenue of $605 million to $615 million, with a top line of $145 million to $150 million in the first quarter. Analysts project 2005 revenue of $591 million. Shares climbed $4.74 to $55.37 in after-hours trading. Charles & Colvard ( CTHR - Get Report) shares rose after the maker of moissanite jewels posted a big increase in fourth-quarter income. The company's profit reached $884,000 or 5 cents a share, up from $465,000, or 3 cents a share, a year earlier. Two analysts had an average estimate for earnings of 6 cents a share. Charles & Colvard reported fourth-quarter sales of $11.7 million, up 34% from $8.7 million a year earlier. The company also announced that moissanite jewelry will be in 90 Helzberg Diamonds stores by the end of the first quarter, an increase of 50 stores over its expectation. Shares of Charles & Clovard advanced 47 cents, or 3.7%, to $13.28 after hours. RealNetworks ( RNWK - Get Report) shares slid after the digital music company's outlook came in below Wall Street's projection. In the fourth quarter, RealNetworks earned $296 million, or $1.61 a share, reversing the year-ago loss of $972,000, or a penny a share. Revenue rose 15% to $84 million. Analysts expected earnings of $1.45 a share and revenue of $84.6 million. For the first quarter, RealNetworks forecast earnings of roughly 12 cents a share on revenue of $82 million to $86 million. Analysts were looking for first-quarter earnings of 19 cents a share on $91 million in revenue. For the full year, the company sees earnings of 75 cents to 80 cents a share, below analysts' target of 99 cents. The company forecast 2006 revenue of $365 million to $380 million, compared with Wall Street's prediction of $382 million. RealNetworks shares fell 38 cents, or 4.5%, to $8.15.