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Investors slam inconsistent Vantive

Shares of Vantive Corp. (Nasdaq: VNTV) plunged 3 11/64, or 25 percent, to 9 41/64 Wednesday, one day after the software developer warned of yet another disappointing quarter.

Late Tuesday, company officials said the company would post a loss of between 12 cents to 14 cents a share in its second quarter.

First Call consensus expected the Santa Clara, Calif.-based software developer to earn 4 cents a share in the quarter.

It will take a restructuring charge of 7 cents a share in the quarter and sales will fall somewhere between $47 million to $49 million in the quarter.

On Wednesday, Piper Jaffrey cut the stock from a "buy" recommendation to "neutral" while Adams Harkness slashed it from a "strong buy" rating to "market perform."

"We have grown quickly, but we need to act aggressively in order to keep our momentum," said CEO Tom Thomas in a prepared release. "The quarter's financial results do not completely reflect the growth of our business. Our international sales performance continues to excel, and we added more than 40 new customers this quarter with key wins against all of our major competitors."

This isn't the first time Vantive has warned of an earnings shortfall.

Last quarter, it preannounced lower-than-expected sales and earnings. It made $252,000, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $44.8 million. First Call consensus was expecting a profit of 6 cents a share in the quarter.

It also issued a profit warning in the year-ago quarter.

Vantive shares hit a 52-week high of 17 3/4 last July before falling to a low of 5 in October.

Six of the 10 analysts following the stock rate it a "hold."