CheckFree Boosts Guidance

Updated from Jan. 20

CheckFree ( CKFR) posted a second-quarter profit and boosted fiscal 2005 guidance Thursday, citing solid growth in its transactions business.

The stock tacked on $2.64, or 7.3%, to $38.95 Friday morning.

For its second quarter ended Dec. 31, the Atlanta-based e-commerce outfit earned $13 million, or 14 cents a share. That reverses the year-ago loss of $1.9 million, or 2 cents a share. Revenue rose 24% from a year ago to $185.6 million.

On a so-called underlying basis, excluding certain costs, CheckFree posted a latest-quarter profit of 36 cents a share, which is a nickel ahead of the Thomson First Call consensus estimate.

"Each business delivered solid, focused performance this quarter, putting us ahead of our expectations," said CEO Pete Kight. "The Electronic Commerce division experienced steady growth in transactions processed. We saw continued portfolio growth in the Investment Services division as the separately managed accounts industry finds traction within the domestic financial markets, and we delivered better-than-expected license sales in our Software business."

The company also boosted third-quarter and fiscal 2005 guidance, saying it expects to earn 35 cents a share on an underlying basis for the quarter and $1.36 for the year. Wall Street was expecting 34 cents and $1.31.

On Thursday, CheckFree dropped 59 cents to $36.44.

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