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Tech Industry

Intuit falls, analysts split on prospects

Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) shares fell more than 10 percent Wednesday after topping estimates for its first quarter but receiving mixed reviews from analysts.

Shares of the financial software developer slipped 5.19 to 43.

Intuit easily topped analysts' estimates in its first quarter, losing $21.4 million, excluding charges, or 10 cents a share, on sales of $187.5 million. The loss beat the First Call Corp. consensus estimate of 16 cents a share in the quarter.

Company officials also said they expects sales of between $1.32 billion to $1.34 billion in the fiscal year, up 22 percent from fiscal 2000.

Despite the good quarterly numbers, reaction from analysts was split.

On the negative side, analyst Glenn Greene at ABN Amro cut his rating on the stock to "add" from "buy." In a research note, Greene said he was concerned about the shift of tax revenue from the second to third quarter, the company's Site Solutions activation rate, as well as the termination of certain QuickBooks Gateway partner relationships.

ABN Amro cut its revenue estimate for the company in fiscal 2001 by $16 million to $1.32 billion but maintained an earnings per share number of 80 cents for the period.

James Marks at CS First Boston was more positive. He believes Intuit has the potential to outperform expectations based on the reported strong earnings per shares and the solid performance of the company's small business unit.

Jeffries Securities analyst Craig Peckham maintained his "buy" rating and $75 price target on Intuit. In a research note, he said he regarded the company's perfomance as "wholly impressive" and believes the reported revenue shift will be seen as an attractive opportunity in hindsight.

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