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Oracle profit rises on new software revenue

That'll be welcome news for investors wary of the company's strategy to catch industry leader SAP.

Oracle on Thursday posted a higher quarterly profit, helped by stronger-than-expected new software license revenue.

Fourth-quarter net income rose to $1.3 billion, or 24 cents per share, from $1.0 billion, or 20 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 25 percent to $4.9 billion.

Excluding items, the company said it posted a per-share profit of 29 cents. Analysts on average were forecasting a per-share profit of 28 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Last week the company said in a preliminary report that its fourth-quarter profit would beat its own forecast on stronger-than-expected new software license revenue.

That was welcome news for investors wary of Oracle's strategy to catch industry leader SAP of Germany by buying share in the maturing market for applications that help companies automate tasks ranging from human resources to sales to inventory management.

Kim Caughey, an analyst who helps manage more than $900 million in assets at Fort Pitt Capital Group, said she will be listening to the company's conference call for hints that Oracle's uptick in sales is the beginning of a new business software buying cycle and a sign that the company is seeing the benefit of recent acquisitions.

"I'd like to know the reason behind it and what the software buying market is like," Caughey said.

Oracle shares slipped 0.6 percent to $14.25 in after-hours trade following the results. The stock had finished down 20 cents at $14.33 on the Nasdaq.