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Symantec's Net Surges

The company posts a big jump in profit and a strong outlook for the current quarter.

SAN FRANCISCO --

Symantec

(SYMC) - Get Report

beat analysts' expectations for the fourth quarter and offered strong outlook for the current quarter allaying investor fears that a slowdown in the economy could take a toll on spending on IT security.

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Net income for the fourth quarter rose to $186 million, or 22 cents a share, vs. $61 million, or 7 cents a share, the year before.

Excluding charges, the company reported net income of $309 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with $227 million, or 24 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 34 cents a share.

Revenue rose to $1.54 billion from $1.36 billion the earlier quarter and was slightly higher with analysts' expectations of $1.53 billion.

Shares of Symantec were up 68 cents, or 3.9%, to $17.85 in recent extended trading.

For the quarter, Symantec's storage and server management division, which represents 37%, of the company's total revenue, grew 11% from a year ago.

The consumer business, representing 29% of the total revenue, grew 10% from a year ago and the security and compliance segment grew 21%. The services unit grew 12%.

International revenues represented 53% of total revenue in the quarter and grew 15% from a year ago.

For the June 2008 quarter, Symantec guided revenue in the range of $1.55 billion and $1.59 billion. Excluding charges, earnings are expected to range between 34 cents and 36 cents a share.

Analysts are expecting earnings of 31 cents a share on revenue of $1.5 billion.

Deferred revenue is expected to be in the range of $2.9billion and $3 billion, the company said.

Symantec's strong results should help calm down jittery investors in the IT security sector who have recently seen weak earnings reports from companies such as Symantec rival

McAfee

(MFE)

and security authentication specialist

Vasco Data Security

(VDSI)

.

McAfee

reported a decline

in its first-quarter profit last week though it offered an outlook that was above Street expectations. Still McAfee shares were down more than 4% following its results.

Vasco shares plunged nearly 24% after the company

missed Street estimates

blaming a slowdown in orders from financial services that form a majority of its customers.