-- The growing

fear of a debilitating cyber attack

helped drive strong first-quarter results from


(SYMC) - Get Report

after market close on Wednesday. The security and storage specialist also offered robust guidance on the strength of continued demand for its products.

Symantec brought in revenue of $1.653 billion, up from $1.433 billion in the prior year's quarter, and well above Wall Street's consensus of $1.585 billion.

Symantec CEO Enrique Salem.

Excluding items, Symantec earned 40 cents a share, compared to 35 cents a share in the same period last year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 37 cents a share.

Investors responded positively to the numbers, pushing Symantec's shares up 23 cents, or 1.28%, to $18.65 in extended trading.

With a host of companies such as


(SNE) - Get Report


Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report



(C) - Get Report

recently falling victim to cyber attacks, Symantec is benefitting from increased awareness of data security, according to CEO Enrique Salem.

"The current threat landscape continues to be toxic and targeted," he explained, in a statement released after market close, adding that information is also growing at unprecedented rates. "As a result, customers increasingly understand the value of our unique portfolio and are expanding their commitment to Symantec -- for the fourth consecutive quarter, we exceeded all of our key financial metrics."

James Beer, the Symantec CFO, added that the company brought in record first-quarter revenue and cash flow. "Our record results were driven by strength in backup, data loss prevention and consumer as well as ongoing stability in the storage and availability management business," he explained, in the company's statement. "Our authentication business once again exceeded expectations and delivered its fourth consecutive quarter of better than expected results."

For the second quarter, Symantec expects revenue between $1.655 billion and $1.675 billion, compared to analysts' estimate of 1.623 billion. Excluding items, the software maker expects earnings between 38 and 39 cents a share in the September-ending period. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for earnings of 38 cents a share in the period.

Symantec's cost of sales as a percentage of sales has come down during the last 12 months, from 18.49% in the first quarter of last year to 15.67% in its most recent quarter. This shows that the company is spending less to generate each dollar of revenue.


Written by James Rogers in New York


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