Bloomberg News

Accenture plc (ACN - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings Thursday, and boosted its full-year financial guidance, thanks to the global consultancy group's ongoing drive into digital and cloud service investments.

Accenture said diluted earnings for the three months ending in February, the company's fiscal second quarter, came in at $1.73 per share, up 26.3% from the same period last year and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.57. Group revenues, Accenture said, rose 5.44% to $10.45 billion and again beat analysts' estimates of a $10.3 billion total.

Bookings for the quarter hit a record $11.8 billion, Accenture said, with $6.7 billion from consultancy and $5.1 billion from outsourcing. The group's gross margin also improved by 30 basis points to 29.2%.

Accenture also boosted the range of its estimate for full year revenue growth to between 6.5% and 8.5% on a local-currency basis and said it sees free cash flow in the range of $5.2 billion to $5.6 billion.

"The durability of our performance reflects the power of our highly differentiated growth strategy - from our leadership position in the New, to our rapidly growing business in Intelligent Platform Services, to our relentless focus on leading with innovation," said interim CEO David Rowland. "With the successful execution of our strategy, combined with the disciplined management of our business, we are very well-positioned to continue growing ahead of the market and delivering significant value for clients and shareholders."

The stock rose 4.9% to $174.67 in midday trading Thursday.

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