Updated from April 30

Shares of

Peregrine Systems

(PRGN)

nose-dived in postclose trading Tuesday after the software maker said it would delay the release of its fourth-quarter and fiscal-year financial results.

Shares of Peregrine were off 22% after hours, falling more than $1.50 in extended trading to $5.31. Shares closed Tuesday down 34 cents, or 4.7%, at $6.85.

In a brief press release, the San Diego-based company said it was delaying the May 2 release of its results "pending continued activities" by KPMG, its new independent auditors hired earlier this month to replace embattled accounting firm Arthur Andersen. The company, which makes software to help companies manage infrastructure such as IT resources and automobile fleets, said it will provide more information next week.

"The auditors just needed more time," a Peregrine spokesperson said Tuesday.

But investors, jittery given Anderson's involvement in the

Enron

debacle, were not willing to wait. "It's going to make people nervous because the market hates uncertainty," said Pacific Crest Securities analyst Brendan Barnicle, who has a neutral rating on Peregrine. He noted the company already was attracting attention because the auditor switch caused it to schedule its earnings call later than usual and past the times of its software peers. His firm hasn't done any banking business with Peregrine.