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Profit woes abound in software sector

Add Chordiant Software, Manhattan Associates and SeeBeyond Technology to a growing list of software companies about to issue first-quarter profit warnings.

The list of business software companies warning investors they've missed first-quarter earnings expectations grew longer on Monday.

Chordiant Software, Manhattan Associates and SeeBeyond Technology each announced that either revenue or earnings, or both, came in below Wall Street expectations in the quarter ended March 31.

The announcements are just the latest among a string of software companies, including Siebel Systems, PeopleSoft, Sybase and WebMethods, to warn of weaker-than-anticipated financial results in the first quarter of the calendar year. Most have indicated that uncertain world politics and a feeble economy have put a drag on their ability to close sales.

Chordiant, which competes in the customer relationship management software market, expects a first-quarter revenue of between $13.5 million and $14 million. Analysts polled by First Call anticipated Chordiant would post a loss of 4 cents per share on $16.5 million in revenue. Chordiant did not discuss first-quarter earnings figures. The Cupertino, Calif., company specializes in customer service and support software with a focus on retail banking and insurance firms.

Manhattan Associates, which sells inventory and logistics software for retailers and their suppliers, expects to hit its first-quarter revenue targets of between $45 million to $46.5 million. However, earnings of 16 cents to 18 cents per share, excluding certain charges, are below First Call's consensus estimate of 22 cents for the Atlanta-based company.

SeeBeyond, based in Monrovia, Calif., said it lost 8 cents per share on revenue between $35 million and $36 million in the first quarter. First Call analysts had anticipated a loss of 5 cents per share on revenue of $38.3 million.

All three companies plan to post full first-quarter results on April 22.