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Accenture Beats Estimates

Accenture reported $5.54 billion in total new bookings in the first quarter, the highest in seven quarters and notably higher than the $4.1 billion to $4.6 billion expected by analysts. The company reiterated fiscal 2006 bookings targets of $19 billion to $21 billion, although Green said, "You have to be pretty optimistic about the bookings going forward."

Accenture said it expects second-quarter net revenue of $4 billion to $4.15 billion and earnings of 33 cents to 35 cents a share, including stock options. Analysts were expecting earnings of 35 cents a share excluding stock options and 33 cents a share including options on $4.16 billion in revenue. On the conference call, Accenture noted that the second quarter is a seasonally weak period.

Accenture reiterated its previous fiscal year 2006 targets for revenue growth of 9% to 12% in local currency. To reflect a benefit of 7 cents a share from the repurchase and redemption of 46.4 million shares in the first quarter, Accenture raised full-year earnings guidance to $1.52 to $1.57 a share from a prior range of $1.45 to $1.50 a share.

Analysts most recently pegged full-year earnings at $1.52 a share excluding stock charges and $1.49 a share including stock expenses on sales of $17.1 billion, which represents annual sales growth of nearly 10%.

Accenture's consulting net revenue was $2.58 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 8% in U.S. dollars and 9% in local currency from a year earlier.

Outsourcing generated $1.59 billion of net revenue, an increase of 18% in both U.S. dollars and local currency from the same period last year.

Consulting bookings increased 41% year over year to $2.78 billion and outsourcing bookings rose 34% to $2.76 billion. COO Stephen Rohleder said the numbers provide evidence of the company's business process outsourcing and applications outsourcing taking hold. The company's BPO revenue rose 25% during the quarter.

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