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Accenture profit beats, shares rise
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Technology outsourcing and consulting firm Accenture Plc reported higher-than-expected quarterly results on Thursday as a recovering economy encouraged companies to invest again.
Accenture's revenue for the fiscal third quarter ended May 31 rose to $5.57 billion from $5.15 billion a year earlier. That was above analysts' average forecast of $5.46 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company's shares rose 2.3 percent after the earnings report to $38.41. They had closed down 1.6 percent at $37.55 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Although the company gave a tepid outlook due to a stronger U.S. dollar, analysts said new bookings, a key indicator of future sales, appeared healthy at $6.43 billion, with a good balance between its consulting and outsourcing business.
Accenture specializes in helping companies cut costs and improve operations through consulting, technology services and outsourcing.
While its sales forecast for the current quarter was below most analysts' forecasts and the company warned that full-year revenue would be at the lower end of its previous forecast due to foreign exchange rates, investors focused on the improvement of the past quarter.
"The outlook was a bit lower than the Street was expecting, but a lot of this is due to currency, and investors were braced for that," said Andrew Miedler, analyst at Edward Jones.
"Overall I think we were pleased with the results ... There are signs of positive momentum."
Accenture's quarterly net income rose to $564 million, or 73 cents a share, from $537 million, or 68 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Wall Street expected profit per share of 69 cents.
Revenue from consulting, an area that was particularly hit during the economic downturn, rose 9 percent from a year earlier to $3.22 billion.
Investors looked past the weaker-than-expected outlook, which was mostly due to the impact of a stronger dollar.
Accenture earns more than half of its revenue outside the Americas and is incorporated in Ireland. The dollar has risen in the past quarter against the euro on worries about the region's sovereign debt issues.
Accenture forecast fiscal fourth-quarter revenue of $5.15 billion to $5.35 billion, below Wall Street's average forecast of $5.36 billion.
The company also said its full-year earnings would likely be at the lower half of its previous forecast of $2.61 to $2.69 per share.
"While there are still pockets of uncertainty in the global economy, we continue to see signs of positive momentum as clients are again looking to their future and focused on improved growth and business performance," Chief Executive William Green told analysts on a conference call.
(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; editing by Bernard Orr, Gary Hill)
(For more news on Reuters India, click in.reuters.com)
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