Verity (VRTY) shares dropped after hours Thursday after the company offered below-consensus earnings guidance.

In recent after-hours trading, the software marker's shares were off 56 cents, or 4.4%, to $12.20. The company's shares ended regular trading up 16 cents, or 1.3%, to $12.76.

In its fiscal fourth quarter, Verity earned $1.4 million, or 4 cents a share, on $38.27 million in revenues. While revenue rose from a year ago, the company's bottom line fell. In the fourth quarter of 2003, Verity earned $4.23 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $29.21 million.

Excluding amortization, restructuring and other charges, Verity would have earned $5.69 million, or 15 cents a share, in the just-completed quarter.

On this basis, Wall Street was expecting the company to earn 12 cents a share on $35.58 million in sales, according to


MultexNet service.

But while the company topped this forecast, its guidance for the first-quarter and full-year 2005 fell far short of analysts' estimates.

Verity expects to post earnings ranging from 1 cent to 4 cents a share in the current quarter, or 4 cents to 7 cents excluding charges, on revenues ranging from $33 million to $35 million. Analysts, meanwhile, had projected earnings of 10 cents a share in the current quarter on $32.58 million in sales.

For the full year, the company predicted it would earn between 33 cents to 39 cents a share -- 44 cents to 50 cents a share, excluding charges -- on sales ranging from $153 million to $157 million. Wall Street is looking for profits of 51 cents a share on sales of $143.78 million.