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said Thursday that its fourth-quarter earnings easily beat Wall Street's estimates, thanks to strong demand and business expansion.

The mechanical design and architectural software maker said it earned $32.1 million, or 57 cents a share, excluding costs for amortization, goodwill and purchased intangibles. Analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

were calling for the company to post earnings of 52 cents a share. Autodesk earned $29.3 million, or 48 cents a share, in the year-ago period. In November the company said it expected to earn between 50 cents and 60 cents for the fourth quarter.

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Revenue totaled $243 million in the quarter, up from $227 million in the same period last year. The company changed its accounting methods this quarter and said revenue would have been $238 million under the previous methods.

Shares of Autodesk, which is based in San Rafael, Calif., gained 6 cents, or 0.2%, to close the regular


session at $33.13, but then rose to $35.25 in recent after-hours



The company projected first-quarter earnings of 40 cents to 50 cents a share on revenue of $240 million to $250 million. For the year, the company expects earnings of $2.10 to $2.25 a share and revenue of $1.025 billion to $1.065 billion. Analysts expect the company to earn $2.18 for the year.