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MicroStrategy tops 4Q forecasts for earnings, misses on revenue

    MicroStrategy (Nasdaq: MSTR) reported a narrower-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter, but fell short of consensus revenue estimates.

    After market close Tuesday, the vendor of data analysis software and services reported a fourth-quarter loss of $24.9 million, or 31 cents per share, excluding special charges. Analysts surveyed by earnings tracking firm First Call produced a consensus forecast calling for a loss of 40 cents per share.

    Fourth-quarter revenue increased 26 percent year-over-year to $58.12 million. First Call consensus predicted revenue of $59.65 million for MicroStrategy's quarter ended Dec. 31.

    Shares of MicroStrategy traded at $15.72 in after-hours activity on the Island ECN, following the release of fourth-quarter results. MicroStrategy rose 81 cents to $16.94 in Tuesday's regular trading ahead of the quarterly report.

    The company lowered its first-quarter revenue target. MicroStrategy now sees revenue growth of 30 percent in 2001. Analysts expected annual sales growth of more than 43 percent, according to First Call.

    MicroStrategy expects its core business will increase 2001 revenue 24 to 28 percent, and breakeven in the fourth quarter of this year. Core revenue should rise 7 to 12 percent year-over-year in the first quarter, the company said.

    Strategy.com, the company's Internet unit, projects roughly 100 percent revenue growth in 2001, including 20 to 40 percent year-over-year growth in the first quarter.

    First Call consensus predicted overall first quarter revenue growth of 22.5 percent year-over-year.

    "We have made significant improvement to our cost structure while still achieving an annual growth rate of 48 percent," said Michael Saylor, president and CEO. "We believe we are well on our way toward achieving our financial goal of becoming profitable in our core business by Q4 2001.">