Updated from 11 a.m. EST

Autodesk ( ADSK) shares rallied for the second time in about a month Tuesday after the company again predicted earnings and revenue well ahead of the blowout guidance it issued on Feb. 27.

The company now expects first-quarter GAAP EPS of 23 cents to 28 cents a share. Excluding restructuring charges, first-quarter EPS will be 27 cents to 32 cents a share. Revenue will hit $265 million to $275 million.

Analysts are expecting earnings of 20 cents a share and revenue of $243.5 million during the quarter.

Autodesk previously said earnings would come in between 12 cents and 17 cents a share on a GAAP basis and 16 cents to 21 cents on a pro forma basis with revenue of $240 million to $250 million.

For its 2005 fiscal year ending in January, the software and programming company forecast EPS of $1.06 to $1.15 a share, excluding restructuring charges of about 21 cents a share. Revenue is expected to be between $1.05 billion and $1.07 billion. That compares with consensus estimates of $1.17 EPS and revenue of $1.01 billion.

Shares rose $1.75, or 5.9%, to $31.68, surpassing their previous 52-week high and up nearly 29% since the beginning of the year.

"We are seeing increased demand across all geographies and industries," the company said. "Customers are enthusiastic about our new product lineup."

Earlier this month, Autodesk introduced its AutoCAD 2005 family of products. The company also expects to release significant new versions of other products in fiscal 2005 as well as several new products, including Autodesk Civil 3D and new Linux-based products for the media market.

One main growth driver is the move of 2-D CAD customers to 3-D CAD, Oppenheimer analyst A. Sasa Zorovic wrote in a note Monday leading up to Autodesk's analyst day Tuesday. In addition, the company is expected to have increasing visibility on its top-line overall as more customers sign up for subscription programs.

But Autodesk also is a story of improving margins. Last quarter, Autodesk indicated that less than 10% of a significant cost-cutting program has been completed, with only 27 staff cuts out of a 400-employee target, Zorovic noted. He expects Autodesk's operating margin to reach 17% for the full fiscal year 2005 and raised his fiscal 2006 operating margin estimate to 21.4% from 19.7%. (Zorovic has a buy rating on Autodesk and his firm hasn't done any banking with Autodesk.)

In the fourth quarter, net income at the San Rafael, Calif.-based company rose to $58 million, or 48 cents a share on a GAAP basis, compared to $6.4 million, or 6 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. On a pro forma basis, the firm earned $53 million, or 45 cents a share, vs. $8 million, or 7 cents, last year.

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