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Intuit posts improved earnings

Bolstered by sales of its recently launched QuickBooks 6.0, the financial software maker reports improved fourth-quarter results.

Shares of financial software maker Intuit jumped as much as 5.2 percent this morning after the company yesterday reported improved fourth-quarter results bolstered by sales of its recently launched QuickBooks 6.0.

The stock was trading at 47.19, up 4.28 percent and has traded as high as 67.94 and as low as 23.88 during the past 52 weeks.

The company posted a loss of $39 million or 70 cents a share for the quarter ended July 31, compared with a loss of $19.8 million or 42 cents a share reported a year ago.

But based on fourth-quarter pro-forma results, the company posted a profit of $1.6 million or 3 cents a share, compared with a loss of $9.1 million or 19 cents a share reported a year ago.

Analysts had expected the company to post earnings of 1 cent a share, according to First Call.

Intuit's pro-forma results reflect revenue and earnings generated from the company's operations and exclude its discontinued operations, as well as acquisition-related charges and restructuring costs.

Intuit's revenues for the quarter were $117.3 million, up 24.6 percent from a year ago. On a pro-forma basis, however, the company's revenues were up 48 percent.

"We entered the year with a clear goal to improve our operating performance and increase pro-forma profitability, and we have achieved these goals," Intuit president and CEO Bill Harris said in a statement.

One analyst said he was pleased with the company's performance.

"I thought it was great," said NationsBanc Montgomery Securities analyst Steven Horen. "I was surprised by how strong their growth was in the Internet sector. I expected them to do $20 million for the year and they did $32 million."

The company's pro-forma revenues for the year were $592.7 million, up from $525.5 million a year ago. Its pro-forma net income was $46.7 million or 90 cents a share, compared with $33.9 million or 72 cents a share a year ago.

Last quarter, Intuit announced that it would acquire professional tax-preparation software developer Lacerte Software in a $400 million cash deal.