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Accenture's Profit Climbs

Updated from 4:41 p.m. EDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Profit at Bermuda-based Accenture (ACN) took a big jump during its third quarter, the company reported Thursday.

Net income rose 36% to $469 million, or 74 cents, a share, from $345 million, of 54 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts were expecting EPS of 69 cents.

Revenue at the technology consulting and outsourcing firm grew 19.6% to $6.1 billion from $5.1 billion in the same quarter of last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for $5.9 billion.

Shares were up 15 cents, or 0.4%, to $39 in extended trading.

Gross margin fell to 31.5% in the quarter, from 31.7% a year earlier. New bookings were $6.8 billion, compared to $6.2 billion one year ago.

For the fourth quarter, Accenture projected revenue ranging from $5.9 billion to $6.1 billion. The company projected full-year EPS of $2.63 to $2.65, implying fourth-quarter EPS of 65 cents to 67 cents. Analysts were expecting revenue of $5.7 billion and EPS, less items, of 65 cents.

Accenture competes in the market for high-tech integration and consulting business with IBM (IBM) and Electronic Data Systems (EDS), which is being acquired by Accenture business partner Hewlett-Packard (HPQ).

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