Shares of Red Hat ( RHAT) were among technology's losers Wednesday, falling 4% after the Linux software company posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings but offered a soft first-quarter profit guidance. The company earned $27.3 million, or 13 cents a share, on revenue of $78.7 million for the quarter ended Feb. 28. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 12 cents a share and revenue of $78.3 million. During the year-earlier quarter, the company earned $11.8 million, or 6 cents a share, on revenue of $57.5 million. Red Hat projects first-quarter earnings of 8 cents a share, with revenue of $82.5 million to $83.5 million. Analysts project earnings of 9 cents a share and revenue of $83 million. Red Hat shares recently were trading down $1.18 to $27.63. SkillSoft ( SKIL) rose 5% after the maker of Internet-based employee-training courses announced a new share repurchase plan. The company said it is now authorized to buy up to 3.5 million ordinary shares. The repurchase plan expires on Sept. 22, 2007. "The board, believing it to be in the best interests of the shareholders and the company, agreed that the company should request this approval to provide the company with the flexibility to buy back shares if it determines that the benefits associated with such a program can be realized," SkillSoft said. Shares were up 25 cents to $5.25. Shares of Sun Microsystems ( SUNW) jumped 6% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to overweight from underweight. The firm said the company's shares could reach $6 within a year if cost-cutting goes as planned. The shares recently traded at $5.35, up 32 cents. Shares of Tibco Software ( TIBX) traded actively after the company posted a slight decrease in year-over-year first-quarter earnings, but beat analyst expectations. The company earned $5.6 million, or 3 cents a share, on revenue of $114.6 million. Excluding items, the company earned $12.6 million, or 6 cents a share. Analysts expected earnings of 5 cents a share, before items, and revenue of $110.5 million. Last year, the company posted a first-quarter profit of $12.7 million, or 5 cents a share, on revenue of $104.1 million. "This was a strong Q1 for Tibco and a strong start to our fiscal year, especially in the areas of profit and cash flow growth," the company said. Shares were trading down 9 cents to $8.11 on volume of more than 4.7 million shares, which compares to a daily average volume of about 3.5 million shares.
Rudolph Technologies ( RTEC) rose 3% after the semiconductor-equipment company received a multiple-system order from a "top 10" U.S. chipmaker. The order calls for Rudolph to deliver its all-surface, advanced macro defect detection system to the customer, which was not named in the press release. Shares were trading up 53 cents to $16.73. Shares of Ipix ( IPIX) tumbled 21% after the imaging technologies company warned about its finances for 2006 and said its auditor included a going-concern qualification in its annual report. The company said that a going-concern qualification was included in its annual reports for 2003 and 2004 as well. "There are significant matters concerning the company, including recurring losses and negative cash flow from operations, that raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern," the auditor, Armanino McKenna, wrote in the most recent annual report. In Wednesday's press release, Ipix said that it will likely have to raise additional capital to meet its funding needs for 2006. "If the company is not able to raise additional funds, it may be required to significantly curtail its operations which would have an adverse effect on its financial position, results of operations and cash flow," Ipix said. Shares were trading down 38 cents to $1.41. Other technology movers included Level 3 Communications ( LVLT), up 12 cents to $5.30; Apple Computer ( AAPL), up $1.88 to $60.59; JDSU ( JDSU), up 9 cents to $4.20; Intel ( INTC), up 2 cents to $19.60; Lucent Technologies ( LU), up 2 cents to $3.06; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), up 16 cents to $21.49; Oracle ( ORCL), up 3 cents to $13.62; Microsoft ( MSFT), up 20 cents to $27.10; and Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI), up 5 cents to $4.99.