After a strong run up to its earnings announcement,

Business Objects

(BOBJ)

was up a fraction Thursday, gaining 17 cents, or less than 1%, to $21.77.

After the close on Wednesday, the French-owned software maker reported that first-quarter revenues were $118.5 million, a year-over-year increase of 10%. Net income for the March quarter was a penny better than expected by Wall Street -- $8.8 million, or 14 cents per diluted share. A year ago, the company earned a net income of $11.0 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, according to generally accepted accounting principles.

Software license revenues in the quarter were $56.2 million, a decline of 11% from the same period in the prior year, but greater-than-expected maintenance revenues made up the difference.

BOBJ shares have appreciated 30% since the beginning of April, nearly three times the percentage gain of the

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Looking forward, the company said it expected second-quarter revenue in the range of $119 million to $123 million and earnings of 14 cents to 17 cents a diluted share, both in line with Wall Street's estimates.

The company did not provide detailed 2003 full-year revenue or earnings guidance, but said "management plans are to continue to grow overall revenue by approximately 10%, but with a greater than 10% full year growth in earnings per share."

Business Objects develops business intelligence products including data integration tools, a BI platform, and a suite of analytic applications.

Commenting on the results and a number of new product announcements by the company, analyst Tad Piper of US Bancorp Piper Jaffrey was cautiously bullish. Jaffrey left his rating of "market perform" unchanged, but raised his target price from $17 to $20 per share.

"We believe the uptake of these

new products will take several quarters to work through the pipeline, leaving consensus estimates susceptible to downward revisions. Accordingly we remain cautious on the stock near term," said Piper, whose company has a banking relationship with Business Objects.