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Earnings news boosts Symantec

The utility software company's earnings per share for the first quarter of fiscal year 1999 will be 40 cents before one-time charges.

    The utility software company Symantec announced today that its earnings per share for the first quarter of fiscal year 1999 which ended July 3, will be 40 cents before one-time charges. Revenues will be $153 million.

    Symantec shares rose by more than 6 percent on the news, reaching $23.75 in morning trading. The stock has traded as high as $32.63 and as low as $17.88 in the past 52 weeks.

    Although the company's preannouncement earnings figure is below Wall Street expectations of 41 cents per share for the first quarter, most analysts are happy with the numbers.

    "I think it's good news because while the company is clearly not going to make its original target and Wall Street expectations, it was widely feared over the past few months that they would miss the earnings by an even greater amount," said Peter Rogers, an analyst at the investment banking firm Volpe, Brown, Whelan & Company. "This was one of those situations where the fear had been greater than the reality."

    The company reported earning 32 cents per share for the first quarter of fiscal year 1998 with revenues of $135 million.

    "The company's weakness was related to softness in software retail sales--both domestic and international," said Alex Kotlyar, an analyst with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. "Still, the quote turns out to be better than most bearish expectations."

    Symantec will announce its quarterly results on July 16.