Updated from 10:19 a.m. EDT

In a now-familiar refrain, BMC Software ( BMC) shed 11.5% Thursday, on the news that the system software vendor will not make its first-quarter numbers.

In recent trading, the stock was off $1.91to $14.76, continuing a slide that began with disclosure of the news after Wednesday's market close.

BMC said pro forma earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2005 will range from 11 cents to 14 cents a share on sales of $318 million to $328 million. That's down from its earlier projection of a profit of 12 cents to 16 cents a share on sales of $345 million to $355 million. Wall Street was expecting a profit of 13 cents per share on sales of $351 million, according to Thomson First Call.

First Albany downgraded the stock to neutral from buy Thursday morning; Lehman Brothers analyst Neil Herman maintained his equal weight rating but cut his forecasts sharply. "As with several other preannouncements in software this quarter, we believe an inability to close many large transactions hurt BMC during the quarter." Lehman Brothers does not have an investment banking relationship with BMC.

In an announcement after the closing bell on Wednesday, the Houston-based company explained the miss in a prepared statement, using language that was strikingly similar to other software companies that have warned recently, including Siebel Systems ( SEBL) , which also preannounced Wednesday evening:

"At the end of the quarter, the company BMC experienced delays in customer purchasing decisions among larger accounts, primarily in the U.S. and completed nine license transactions worldwide in excess of $1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2005, compared to 16 license transactions in excess of $1 million in the same quarter of last year."

Including various items, the company expects to earn a profit of 19 cents to 22 cents per diluted common share, according to generally accepted accounting principles. License bookings are estimated to be down 20% to 26% compared to the first quarter of last year. License bookings measure the value of new license contracts signed during the quarter, including both the amount that goes to the income statement and the amount that goes to the deferred license revenue account on the balance sheet, the company said.

If you liked this article you might like

Microsoft Vista Outpaces Predecessor

Microsoft Vista Outpaces Predecessor

Microsoft Gets 20-Day European Reprieve

Microsoft Gets 20-Day European Reprieve

SAP Plans Oracle Fight

SAP Plans Oracle Fight

TechWeek: Pop Goes the Equity Bubble

TechWeek: Pop Goes the Equity Bubble

Microsoft Forms Ad Search Unit

Microsoft Forms Ad Search Unit