After Hours Movers Extending Markets’ Rally Week

These companies are all moving quickly on exchange floors after hours today:

1) Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI) shares off .52% after hours following gains of .93% on the day. The full-service restaurant operator, which owns popular chains Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, and others, reported its fourth quarter earnings after the bell today. The company said net earnings were up 23% in terms of diluted EPS, also reporting net earnings from continuing operations in this year’s fourth quarter of $138.0 million and sales of $1.99 billion. Fiscal year 2011 total sales from continuing operations of $7.50 billion were a 5.4% increase from the prior year. CEO Clarence Otis says, “Our strong fourth quarter completes a very successful year for Darden, I’m confident that our teams will continue to build guest loyalty and that they will deliver another year of superior sales and earnings growth.” Earnings Cheat Sheet: Darden Restaurants, Inc. Earnings: Revenue Increase Helps Margin, Net Income Climbs>>

2) Apollo Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:APOL) shares are up big after hours today (5.31%), extending gains of 1.53% on the open market today. The buyers for APOL are rushing in after the company posted a FQ3 earnings that beat analyst expectations by $.12 per share. The private education provider reported net income attributable to the company rose to $212.44 million, up from $179.28 last year. Net revenue for the third quarter totaled $1.24 billion, down 7.6% from $1.34 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2010. Earning Cheat Sheet: Apollo Group, Inc. Earnings Cheat Sheet: Sees Profit Move Up>>

3) Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT) stock is down slightly after hours, shedding .04% on news that the company has plans for a larger wave of layoffs than previously stated. Martin, maker of defense products, airplane parts, and more, says it will need to cut 1,200 jobs to offset projected revenue losses from spending cutbacks in the Federal Dept. of Defense. Spokespeople for LMT said, “We’re taking bold action to respond to changes in the defense business environment,” as the company expects to offer “voluntary layoffs” to workers at three of its largest plants. Competitors to Watch: Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ:ASTC), The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC), General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE:GD), OHB Technology AG (OHB), Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE:ATK), Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN).

4) United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) trading down .01% after hours following a strong day (up 2.36%) on news that the company has “signed an exclusive maintenance services agreement with Jetstar Pacific Airlines to provide engine overhaul services on the airline’s fleet of CFM56-3 engines.” UTX stock continues to inch closer to 52-week and all time highs just upwards of $90, closing today at $88.51. Competitors to Watch: Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA), General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON), Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), and Goodrich Corporation (NYSE:GR).

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