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Oracle beats estimates, but revenue slips

The database giant?s profits narrowly beat analyst estimates, but its fiscal first-quarter revenue drops slightly from a year ago.

Oracle reported profits Thursday that narrowly beat analyst estimates, but its fiscal first-quarter revenue dropped slightly from a year ago.

The database giant earned a first-quarter profit of $511 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with last year's first-quarter profit of $500.7 million, or 8 cents a share.

A consensus of analysts had predicted earnings of 8 cents a share, according to First Call.

For its first quarter, which ended August 31, Oracle's revenue dropped less than 1 percent, from $2.26 billion in 2000 to $2.24 billion this year.

Although Oracle announced its first-quarter earnings Thursday, company executives canceled a conference call with financial analysts until the U.S. stock markets reopen. The stock markets have been shut down since Tuesday's terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C., and New York. The markets are scheduled to reopen Monday.

"We feel it's very important to continue to move forward as a sign of our determination not to be bowed by despicable acts of terrorism, and to that end, we've released the numbers as planned," Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said in a statement.

"At the same time, we are fully cognizant of the fact that many, especially the investment professionals concentrated in New York, are currently dealing with the aftermath of Tuesday's tragic events. And we want to ensure that we do not unduly add to their burdens by scheduling the conference call."

Because of its bellwether status, Oracle's first-quarter earnings had been anticipated by investors looking for signs of an economic recovery. Like other tech companies, Oracle has been hit hard by the U.S. economic decline and slower spending by businesses.

Oracle executives in June had predicted first-quarter earnings of 8 cents per share with revenue growing about 1 percent to 2 percent. At that time, the company predicted that database sales would be flat and that applications sales would grow 15 percent.