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Compuware crumbles on downgrades, warning

Shares of Compuware Corp. (Nasdaq: CPWR) tumbled Wednesday, after the software maker warned its fourth quarter earnings would be weaker than Wall Street forecasts.

Analysts promptly downgraded the stock.

Compuware shares fell 7 9/16 to 12 1/2, or 38 percent, as more than 15 million shares traded hands. The stock crumbled in March too, when it got a downgrade from Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

J.P. Morgan and Chase Hambrecht & Quist downgraded the stock to "market perform" from "buy," the two investment firms said in separate statements on Wednesday.

Compuware said as a result of weaker revenue from its professional services and products divisions, it expected to report earnings of 13 to 15 cents a share for the quarter ended March 31, far below the 35 cents a share predicted by First Call and the 31 cents a share in the year earlier period.

Compuware estimated fourth quarter revenue was about $566 million to $581 million.

J.P. Morgan said the revenue forecast is 20 percent below its forecasts for $705 million. In a report, the investment firm said "top line weakness was across the board, but especially heavy in software.''

Revenue from professional services was estimated to be in a range of $260 million to $265 million. Software license fee revenues were projected to be $193 million to $198 million. Maintenance revenues were estimated to be $113 million to $118 million.

Compuware competes with Computer Associates (NYSE: CA), Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) and BMC Software (Nasdaq: BMCS).

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