Regardless of whether VeriSign (NASDAQ:VRSN) posts a gain or decline in tonight's after hours following its Q3 report, the stock historically is a strong play for the long side.
VRSN has recorded an earnings-driven after hours gain in seven quarters tracked in our database. In six of those quarters, or 86% of the time, the stock has seen its gains expand in the following day's regular session.
On the downside, VRSN has recorded an earnings-driven after hours decline in 19 quarters. In 13 of those events, or 68% of the time, VRSN has seen its evening downside narrow or reverse direction in the following day's regular session - a datapoint that keeps longs in play despite any potential turn south tonight. In the latest quarter, a flat evening performance was followed with a next-day drop.
VRSN is due to report Q3 results in tonight's after hours session, and analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report a profit of $0.37 per share on revenue of $196 million.
The performance history follows:
On July 28, 2011, the stock ended evening trading flat after an earnings beat and a revenue miss. Shares fell 2.5% the next day.
On April 28, 2011, the stock fell 2.5% in evening action after an earnings report featuring in-line profit but a revenue miss. Shares shaved that move to a 0.7% closing decline the next day.
On Jan. 27, 2011, VRSN slid 0.4% in evening trading despite beating Q4 expectations. The stock reversed direction the next day, closing the Jan. 28 regular session up 2.5%.
On Oct. 28, 2010, the stock fell 2.7% in after hours trading after narrowly beating with Q3 results. Shares rebounded 3.8% the next day.
On Aug. 2, 2010, VRSN gained 2.1% in after-hours action after meeting Q2 earnings expectations and beating on revenue. The stock firmed higher the following day, closing the Aug. 3 regular session up 4.3%.
On April 28, 2010, VRSN declined 2.9% in evening trading after missing revenue expectations and beating on earnings for its Q1. The stock bounced back to the plus side the following day, closing the April 29 regular session up 2.3%.
On Feb. 2, 2010, the stock fell 5.2% after as results did top the year-ago quarter. Shares slipped 0.5% the next day.
On Nov. 5, 2009, VRSN declined 4.8% in after-hours action after beating earnings expectations but coming in just shy on revenue. The stock cut its downside the following day, ending the Nov. 6 regular session down 3.1%.
On Aug. 6, 2009, the stock fell 2.7% in evening trading after VRSN misses with non-GAAP EPS. It fell a deeper 9.2% the next day.
On May 7, 2009, the stock was up 7.9% in night trading after beating with Q1 results. Shares jumped 16.4% the next day.
On Feb. 5, 2009, the stock fell 3.5%. The loss was trimmed to 0.6% during the following regular session.
On Nov. 6, 2008, VRSN advanced 0.2% in after-hours action after topping Q3 expectations. The stock surged higher in the Nov. 7 regular session, advancing 8.7% by the closing bell.
On Aug. 6, 2008, VRSN declined 6.2% in after-hours trading after beating quarterly expectations but guiding for forward revenue in line to lower than the Street view. The stock turned deeper in the red the next day, losing 12.7% in the Aug. 7 regular session.
On May 8, 2008, the stock gained 2% during evening trading after the company swings to a loss but reports sales that top the Street. The gain improved to 3.1% the next day.
On Jan. 31, 2008, VRSN declined 1.9% in evening trading despite topping Q4 expectations. It turned around the following regular session, advancing 5.7% by the closing bell on Feb. 1.
On Nov. 1, 2007, VRSN slipped 0.9% in evening action after meeting Q3 Street estimates. It rebounded from the red the following regular session, rising a modest 0.5% by the Nov. 2 closing bell.
On July 26, 2007, VRSN ended the night session flat after meeting Q2 estimates. However, they fell the next day, ending the regular session down 4.1%.
On May 2, 2007, the stock gave up 1.9% in the evening hours despite a revenue figure that topped the Street view. The loss was a slimmer 0.9% the next day.
On Jan. 31, 2007, the stock fell 3.2% in the post-bell session after the company reported revenue shy of the Street view. The stock reversed to close up 8.7% the next day.
On Oct. 19, 2006, VRSN dipped 0.2% in night trading after despite a sequential rise in Q3 sales. Shares pared their losses and closed the next day session down only 0.1%.
On July 20, 2006, shares shed 2.8% in evening trading after the company reported in line with EPS. That loss grew to 7.7% the next day.
On April 20, 2006, shares fell 4.6% after the company misses with sales figures and just meets with EPS. The loss was reined in some the next day, as the stock wrapped trading down 3.7%
On Jan. 26, 2006, shares were left virtually flat as the Street was unimpressed by in-line EPS. The loss was 0.9% the following day.
On Oct. 19, 2005 VRSN shares rose 3.8% and followed up with a 3.5% regular session gain after the company reported Q3 revs of $415 million and non-GAAP EPS of $0.27 per share, vs. the FC mean of $410 million in revs and EPS of $0.27 per share.
On July 20, 2005, VRSN lost 11.3% in after hours trading when the company beat Q2 estimates but lowered its Q3 revenue outlook. The shares lost even more during the next day session, ending down 15.6%.
On April 20, 2005, VRSN jumped 6.9% after topping expectations. It surged 13.6% in the April 21 regular session.
On Jan. 26, 2005, VRSN dropped 11.5% after hours despite besting Street expectations and guiding in-line to higher. It lost even more ground in the Jan. 26 regular session, closing down 13%.
On Oct. 20, 2004 VRSN ramped up 7.9% after the company beat expectations and guided higher. It soared in the Oct. 21 regular session, rising 19.5% by the closing bell.
VRSN was a downside mover the night of July 22, 2004, losing 4.4% after the company beat on sales but reported in-line EPS. It slid 4.8% by the close on July 23.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.