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Intuit Offers Mixed Bag

It expects to miss full-year revenue estimates but says it will beat the Street's full-year profit predictions.

Updated from Aug. 18


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shares were higher Thursday after the company reported a bottom line on Wednesday that was better than analysts' fourth-quarter estimates, but it offered mixed guidance for its upcoming fiscal year.

Intuit's shares were recently up 27 cents, or 0.7%, to $39.36.

The financial software company lost $42.1 million, or 22 cents a share, on $275.9 million in revenue in its fourth quarter. The red ink ran deeper than it did in the same quarter a year ago, when the company lost $24.69 million, or 12 cents a share, on revenue of $245.1 million.

Excluding certain charges, the TurboTax software maker would have lost $11.4 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with a loss of $10.7 million, or 5 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

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Analysts were expecting the company to lose 7 cents a share on this basis on $271.7 million in sales, according to Thomson First Call.

But the company was more cautious than was Wall Street on its current quarter. Intuit expects to lose 28 cents to 32 cents a share -- 25 cents to 29 cents a share pro forma -- in its fiscal first quarter. The company predicted that its revenue would range from $251 million to $263 million in the period.

Meanwhile, Wall Street had higher hopes, projecting a pro forma loss of 24 cents a share on $265.5 million in sales.

Intuit, based in Mountain View, Calif., also expects to fall short of analysts' full-year revenue estimates, but it predicted that it will beat Wall Street's full-year profit predictions. For all of fiscal 2005, Intuit expects to earn $1.82 to $1.90 a share -- $1.93 to $2.01 excluding charges -- on revenue ranging from $1.97 billion to $2.02 billion.

Analysts had forecast full-year earnings of $1.92 a share on $2.03 billion in sales.

The company's wider loss in its just-completed quarter was due in part to a goodwill charge. The company has decided to sell off its public sector business, which provided accounting and business management software for government agencies and nonprofit organizations. That business accounted for $13 million in revenue in fiscal 2004, according to Intuit.

Declaring that business impaired, Intuit took a charge of $18.7 million, or 10 cents a share, to goodwill related to selling off its public sector business. The company plans to report the business as a discontinued operation in upcoming earnings filings.

Intuit shares finished regular trading up 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $39.09. In after-hours trading, shares were off 34 cents, or 0.9%, to $38.75.