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Intuit narrows losses

Intuit narrows its losses and spins out a better-than-expected quarterly performance as its small business division makes a strong showing.

Intuit (INTU) today announced that it narrowed its first-quarter loss and spun out a better-than-expected quarterly performance as its small business division showed a strong performance.

Intuit's net loss fell to $12.8 million, or 27 cents a share, for the quarter ending October 31, compared with a loss of $28.3 million, or 61 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. Excluding a $4.6 million acquisition charge and divested businesses, Intuit would have posted a loss of $12.1 million, or 26 cents a share.

Analysts had expected the company to report a loss of 28 cents a share, according to First Call.

Intuit not only was able to shrink its losses from a year ago, but from the previous quarter as well. The company reported a loss of $19.8 million in the previous quarter, largely due to a restructuring charge.

Revenues for the quarter, meanwhile, fell to $96 million, compared with $102.5 million a year ago. The decline was attributed to the company's sale of its Parsons Technology subsidiary in August. The current quarter's revenues, however, remained virtually flat compared with the $94.1 million in revenues reported for the previous quarter, which ended July 31.

Intuit officials previously had stated that the company's first and fourth quarters tend to be seasonally slow for sales of its tax-preparation software.

The company's stock has fallen from around 36 a share in mid-October to close at 27-5/16 today, down 7/8. The downward turn began about the time the company discovered that users of its new Quicken 98 financial services software were unable to log on to the application's online banking services as a result of a server upgrade the company had installed just prior to the product's launch.

Company officials note, however, that the new version of Quicken has received a "positive" response.