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Oracle falls on profit worries

Shares of Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) slipped 2 1/4 to 23 1/16, or 10 percent, Thursday on concerns that the company would guide analyst estimates lower.

Oracle is meeting with analysts today. CNBC, citing anonymous sources, reported that Oracle may guide 1999 estimates lower.

If Oracle does disappoint Wall Street, the company could lose credibility points with Wall Street. In its third quarter reported in March, Oracle met expectations, but sales were on the light side. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison assured analysts that Oracle's third quarter sales disappointment was a one-time event.

In the third quarter conference call, Ellison said the fourth quarter pipeline of business was "growing at a extraordinary rate." Ellison downplayed Year 2000 concerns. The Year 2000 issue also seems to be less of a factor for other key tech companies such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and IBM (NYSE: IBM).

The Redwood City, Calif. company is expected to earn 33 cents a share for its fourth quarter and 85 cents for the year, according to a poll of 30 analysts by First Call Corp.