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fiscal first-quarter sales came in short of analysts' estimates, and the company guided down for the current period, citing the weak economy.

The San Jose-based developer of PDF and PhotoShop technology says preliminary results show earnings, excluding any one-time items, of 44 cents to 45 cents a share for the quarter ended Feb. 27. That bottom line is about a 3-cent drop from the year-ago quarter, but it would beat analysts' targets calling for a pro forma profit of 42 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Sales for the quarter were $783 million to $786 million, well below the $890.4 million level of a year ago, and short of the $792 million analysts were looking for.

"Despite worsening market conditions, we were able to manage expenses to deliver earnings and margin results within the target ranges we provided at the outset of the quarter," said Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer.

Looking ahead, the software shop expects more deterioration. The company says sales for the May quarter will be about $675 million to $725 million. Analysts had been expecting sales of $776.3 million. Adobe also expects its operating margins to narrow to between 32% and 36% from around 37% or 37.5% in the most recent quarter.

Salvaging the bottom line amid a sales crunch seemed to please investors, however. Adobe shares rose $1.18, or 7.2%, to $17.50 in after-hours trading Wednesday.