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, citing "economic malaise", said its first-quarter earnings excluding items will fall short of analysts' expectations and year-ago levels.

For its first quarter, Sybase expects to report that it earned 23 cents to 26 cents a share, compared with the 28 cents a share analysts expected, according to

Thomson Financial/First Call

and the 28 cents a share it earned a year earlier.

Sybase, which develops, software for enterprise-wide information systems, anticipates first-quarter revenue of $227 million to $231 million, up slightly from year-ago revenue of $226.8 million.

"Late in the quarter we experienced a number of purchase decision delays, and a number of customers reduced the size of orders due to the uncertainty of the economy," the company said.

Shares of Sybase closed off $1.81, or 12%, at $12.94.