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Traders should be wary of the post-earnings after-hours direction in shares of Tibco Software (NASDAQ:TIBX) tonight as the stock has a consistent historical tendency to see its evening direction reverse course in the following day's regular session. In other words, if it's up tonight, watch those ceiling levels, because shorts could have a play on the shares. On the downside, we'd be looking for where firm floors develop, scoping out potential long plays off a bounce.

We do have one note of caution on the evening up moves as the near-term pattern we've seen over the last year has moved toward widening - with the stock posting after-hours gains in the last four consecutive quarters and adding to those gains in next-day action in three of those quarters - perhaps an inflection point here in terms of sentiment as longs are firmer in holding their upside ground through to the next day.

Broadly, TIBX is maintaining a reversal pattern between the sessions following its last seven years of earnings events, paring back its evening performance or even reversing its share move following 15 of the last 28 quarterly reports we've tracked. In the near-term, the stock favors widening its share move between the sessions, adding to its earnings-driven after-hours trade in three of the last four quarters.

As we noted above, a deeper look at the historical performance data between the earnings-driven after-hours move and the next day's regular session suggests longs should be wary of expecting evening upside moves to generate more robust positive play in the following bell-to-bell session. TIBX has recorded 20 quarters where it has seen an earnings-driven after-hours gain. In 12 of those quarters, 60% of the time, the stock either narrowed or reversed its evening performance in the following day's action.

On the short side, the data favors reversals as well, with TIBX recording seven earnings-driven after-hours declines and following those moves with three widening trades (next-day deeper in the red moves) and four narrowing moves (cutting back its evening declines in the following day's regular session).

Separately, TIBX recorded one other event where it ended the after-hours flat followed by a next-day regular session decline.

TIBXis slated to report its Q1 results after the bell tonight, and analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report a profit of $0.15 per share on revenue of $183 million.

Here's the history:

On Dec. 21, 2010, TIBX gained 3.8% in after-hours trade after beating Q4 estimates and approving a stock buy-back plan. The stock reversed direction the following day, closing the Dec. 22 regular session down 4.4%.

On Sept. 23, 2010, TIBX leaped 8.8% in after-hours trade after beating Q3 estimates. The stock added to its upside in the following day's regular session, ending up 12.5%.

On June 24, 2010, TIBX advanced 6.2% in evening trade after topping Q2 expectations. The stock jumped higher the following day, closing the June 25 regular session up 10.7%.

On March 25, 2010, TIBX firmed 3.6% in after-hours trade after topping Q1 expectations. It added to its upside the following day, closing the March 26 regular session up 3.9%.

On Dec. 22, 2009, TIBX advanced 6.1% in evening action after topping Q4 expectations. The stock climbed slightly higher the next day, closing the Dec. 23 regular session up 7.4%.

On Sept. 24, 2009, TIBX firmed 6.8% in after-hours trade after beating earnings and revenue expectations. The stock lost a good chunk of its gain the following day, ending the Sept. 29 regular session up 2.9%.

On June 25, 2009, the stock gained 4.7% in evening trading after a Q2 beat. Shares widened just slightly the next day, finishing up 4.9%.

On March 26, 2009, shares were flat in the extended-hours period after mixed earnings results. Shares fell 4.9% the next day.

On Dec. 22, 2008, the stock gained 5.2% after beating with earnings. The advance was pared to 1.8%, however, the following day.

On Sept. 25, 2008, TIBX gained 8.1% in night trade on the back of better-than-expected Q3 results. The stock cut its upside the following day, advancing 7% by the closing bell on Sept. 26.

On June 26, 2008, the stock fell 2.1% despite a Q2 revenue, EPS beat. The stock turned higher, closing up 3.2% the next day.

On March 27, 2008, the stock gained 2.1% during evening trading. Shares were down 0.1% at the conclusion of the following day's regular session.

On Dec. 20. 2007, TIBX gained 5.4% in night trade after beating with Q4 results. It firmed to a 8.2% rise on Dec. 21.

On Sept. 27, 2007, the stock fell 2.3% during evening hours even as TIBX reports ahead of the Street with its latest results. The stock fell 2.5% the next day.

On June 28, 2007, the stock fell 3.6% in extended hours trading after the company reported shy of Q2 expectations. Shares reversed to squeak out a 0.2% gain by the closing bell the next day.

On March 29, 2007, the stock fell 4% after reporting results. The loss was 4.5% the next day.

On Dec. 21, 2006, shares were up 1.3% after beating with Q4 EPS and setting a share buyback. The stock fell 2.1% the next day.

On Sept. 28, 2006, TIBX declined 4.3% in after-hours activity after the company posted results just shy on revenue, beat by a penny on EPS and guided mostly in line for its Q4. It reversed its negative trend in the Sept. 29 regular session, ending the day up 1%.

On July 6, 2006, shares improved 2.9% in the evening hours after the company reported ahead of the Street with Q2 results but was at or below the Street view with its Q3 guidance. The gain fattened to 6.8% the next day.

On March 28, 2006, TIBX edged up 1.2% in night trade after the company beat Q1 expectations and set its Q2 guidance in-line to higher. The evening gains evaporated on March 29 as the stock stumbled 3.1% in the regular session.

On December 21, 2005, TIBX jumped 8.2% in night trade after topping Q4 and FY05 estimates. It also set a $100 million stock buyback. However, the shares lost a little momentum the next day, ending the regular session up 7.4%.

On Sept. 22, 2005, TIBX climbed 1.5% in evening trade after the company beat Q3 estimates. It saw those gains evaporate on Sept. 23 as the stock slipped to a 1.9% decline by the regular session close.

On June 23, 2005, TIBX lost 4.7% in night trade after matching Q2 EPS estimates, coming in just above on revenue, and guiding Q3 below the Street. It eased 4.5% in the June 24 regular session.

On March 24, 2005 TIBX edged up 0.7% in after-hours trading after the company reported better-than-expected Q1 revenue, in-line EPS, and guided for Q2 results to either match or come in shy of current Street expectations. The report came ahead of a three-day weekend, and despite the long wait TIBX maintained its modest upside on March 28, holding steady to a 0.7% rise in that day's regular session.

On Dec. 22, 2004 TIBX added 1.4% in night trade following better-than-expected results. It pared its upside slightly the next day, closing the bell-to-bell session up 1.3%.

On Sept. 21, 2004 TIBX advanced 3.8% in after-hours action following better-than-expected results and guidance. It saw more aggressive buying on Sept. 22, ending the regular session up 9%.

On June 17, 2004 TIBX lost 2.5% in evening activity after the company beat on revenue, reported in-line EPS and set guidance about even with the Street. Sellers kicked up the pressure in the June 18 regular session, closing the issue down 5.5%.

Finally, on March 17, 2004 TIBX rose 5% after the company beat estimates and guided higher. It slimmed down its upside the following day, managing a 3.2% rise by the closing bell.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: Scoping Out a Reversal Move in Tibco Shares Post-Earnings