Siebel Recovers After Early Downturn

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Updated from 8:22 a.m. EDT

Siebel Systems

(SEBL)

was up 0.2% in midmorning after trading sharply lower at the open. The stock opened at $16.06 and slipped to $16 after it missed earnings estimates late Wednesday for the first time since going public in 1996.

The software company said it earned 7 cents per share in the third quarter. Analysts, who had lowered their estimates several times during the quarter, were expecting 9 cents, according to Multex.com.

"Since Sept. 11, we've faced an economy and an environment for information technology that's been as difficult as any in the history of the information technology industry," CEO Tom Siebel said in a conference call. "And it will continue to be."

The company didn't provide guidance for the fourth quarter or 2002, saying only that it is comfortable with current analyst estimates. Analysts are expecting EPS of 12 cents for the fourth quarter and revenue of $527.5 million, including $225 million to $300 million in software license revenues. For all of 2002, Siebel said he is comfortable with current software license revenue estimates of $865 million to $1.4 billion.