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Verity dazzles in fourth quarter

Internet software developer Verity Inc. (Nasdaq: VRTY) blew away analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, earning $5 million, or 34 cents a share, on sales of $19.3 million. Its shares closed off 1 7/8 to 45 7/8.

First Call consensus expected Verity to earn 25 cents a share in the quarter.

The $19.3 million in sales represents a 15 percent improvement versus the year-ago quarter when it earned $1 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $16.7 million.

In the quarter, software sales accounted for 75 percent of the company's total sales in the quarter, roughly $14.5 million.

For the year, Verity made $12.1 million, or 88 cents a share, on sales of $64.4 million compared to a loss of $16.5 million, or $1.47 a share, on sales of $38.9 million last year.

"The fourth quarter of fiscal 1999 was our fifth straight quarter of record revenues and profitability," said CEO Gary Sbona in a prepared release. "Our record performance this past year represents a significant milestone for Verity and our team looks forward to the future."

Last quarter, Verity topped analysts estimates on sales growth of 49 percent.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 48 3/4 last week after falling to a low of 5 1/16 in August.

All five analysts following the stock maintain a "strong buy" recommendation.