Tax-crunching software firm

Intuit

(INTU) - Get Report

posted results for the fiscal first quarter that exceeded Wall Street's earnings expectations Thursday whileraising its guidance for its 2002 fiscal year.

But the company's net loss widened, compared with a year ago, for thesecond consecutive quarter.

The company said that on a pro forma basis, or excluding certain charges, itlost $27.6 million, or 13 cents per share, on revenue of $208.8 million forits fiscal first quarter, ended Oct. 31. Wall Street analysts expected thefirm to lose 15 cents per share during the seasonally slow quarter onrevenue of $209.2 million, according to Multex.com.

A year ago, thefirm lost 10 cents per share on a pro forma basis with $187.5 million inrevenue. The firm said the wider loss from a year ago was due to lowerinterest income and higher marketing costs.

It was the second consecutive quarter that the firm posted a bigger lossthan it did during the same period a year ago, though the firm's firstquarter usually results in a loss. The company makes its bread and butterduring its second and third fiscal quarters, which encompass thetax-preparation season.

However, the company rang a note of optimism by raising its guidancefor the 2002 fiscal year, which concludes at the end of July. The companysaid it should post $280 million to $290 million in pro forma operatingincome for the period, or growth of 27% to 32% for the year. Previously, ithad predicted growth of 25% to 30%. The company also reiterated revenuegrowth of 15% to 20% for the fiscal year.

Pro forma numbers exclude certain charges. Including $35.4 million inpretax charges, net losses related to writedowns of marketable securitiesand impairment charges from the sale of the company's online bill managementbusiness, Intuit lost $92.4 million during the quarter, or 44 cents pershare. On that basis a year ago, Intuit lost only $33.8 million, or 16cents per share.

In regular trading, before announcing its result, Intuit's stock was up fractionally at $41.82. In after-hours trading, the shares dropped to $41.10 on Instinet.