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Intuit&#039s strong 3Q results don&#039t impress Wall Street

Financial software developer Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) didn't get much mileage out of its impressive third-quarter results Wednesday as its shares fell 1 1/16 to 76 1/2.

On Tuesday, Intuit shattered analysts' estimates in its third-quarter, earning $47.2 million, or 73 cents a share, on sales of $239.7 million.

First Call consensus expected Intuit to earn 70 cents a share in the quarter.

On Wednesday, BancBoston Robertson Stephens started the stock with a "buy" recommendation.

The $237.9 million in sales was a 69 percent improvement versus the year-ago period when it earned $10.2 million, or 20 cents a share.

Company officials said the launch of QuickBooks 99 in January, along with strong growth in personal tax products and Internet e-finance services, were responsible for the upside surprise.

Web-related revenue in the third quarter was 2 1/2 times larger than it was a year earlier, and now comprises more than 20 percent of Intuit's sales. Quicken.com traffic saw April page views of 180 million, up 10 percent sequentially, and up 137 percent year-over-year. The QuickenMortgage originated more than $400 million in closed loans, up more than 300 percent in one year and up 70 percent sequentially.

Tax-related software did well, as expected since the quarter included the climax of the U.S. tax filing season. Intuit sold more than 4 million personal federal tax products were sold, with more than 70 percent dollar share at retail for the tax season according to PC Data. About 1.5 million individual taxpayers filed federal returns electronically through Intuit, more than double last year.

Intuit shares peaked at 110 3/4 in April after falling to a low of 34 3/16 in August.

Ten of the 11 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

Sergio Non contributed to this report.

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