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Sagent plunges on earnings miss

Sagent Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: SGNT) plunged 62 percent Wednesday after the company missed revenue and earnings targets in the first quarter.

The company reported a loss of 7 cents a share, far below the Street's expectation of a profit of 4 cents a share. Sagent cited a last minute accounting change for the shortfall.

Shares in the provider of software for real-time interaction fell 11 1/8 to 7.

Net loss for the first quarter was $2 million, or 7 cents a share, narrower than the loss of $3.4 million, or 55 cents a share, reported for last year's first quarter. First Call was expecting a profit of 4 cents a share.

Net revenue for the first quarter was $14.5 million, up 62 percent from the $8.9 million reported in the first quarter of 1999.

"We are disappointed to have missed our revenue and earnings targets for the quarter," said Ken Gardner, president and CEO. "In our Q1 review with our public accountants, which was completed on Monday, we determined that two signed agreements, totaling $3.5 million, did not qualify for revenue recognition in the first quarter. We expect to recognize this revenue during the remaining quarters of this year."

The company said it is optimistic about our outlook for the remainder of the year, and added significant new customers including Citibank, Bank of America, DirectTV, and Chase Insurance Group. It is also pleased with the initial market acceptance of Centrus Real-Time, its XML-based service for delivering real-time content over the Web.

Sagent's competitors include Business Objects (Nasdaq: BOBJ), Cognos (Nasdaq: COGN) and MicroStrategy (Nasdaq: MSTR).