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CheckFree rises on 4Q sales, earnings

Shares of CheckFree Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: CKFR) moved up 2 3/16, or 9 percent, to 26 1/16 Wednesday after meeting analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter.

The electronic payment specialist pulled in $2.8 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $70.8 million.

First Call consensus expected it to earn 5 cents a share in the quarter.

But First Call had also predicted a break-even quarter for the fiscal first quarter, which ends September. CheckFree on Tuesday told analysts to expect a loss ranging between 8 and 10 cents a share, on revenue of $65 million to $70 million.

Fourth quarter revenue improved from $63.5 million in the year-ago period, when CheckFree earned 3 cents per share. The company's subscriber base grew 6 percent to almost 3 million at the end of fiscal 1999, compared to 2.4 million a year earlier. Internet-based user growth was better than 20 percent.

Its shares moved up to 52-week high of 69 1/8 in April after falling to a low of 5 3/4 in October.

Nine of the 12 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.>