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Portal Software cuts Q3 losses faster than forecast

Portal Software (Nasdaq: PRSF) lost far less than analysts expected in the third quarter.

After market close Thursday, the maker of customer support and billing software for ISPs and communications companies reported a third quarter loss of $1.7 million, or 2 cents per share. First Call's survey of 10 analysts predicted a loss of 11 cents per share for the quarter ended Oct. 31.

Third quarter revenue rose to $28.1 million, a 288 percent gain year-over-year and 35 percent improvement sequentially. CEO John Little credited market share gains among high-speed Internet providers for boosting growth. "Our financial results exceeded our expectations," he said, adding that Portal won contracts with the three largest DSL providers among competitive local exchange carriers.

Despite the inroads, don't expect Portal to cut back on spending, CFO Jack Acosta said. "We will continue to invest aggressively in sales and marketing to capture market share, and in research and development to maintain and extend our technological advantage," he said.

Shares of Portal have been rising recently, closing Thursday's regular trading at 92, a gain of 11 1/2 for the session. Earlier this week, Merrill Lynch began coverage of the stock with an intermediate-term rating of "accumulate" and set a price target of $98 per share.

Among nine analysts polled by Zack's Investment Research, seven rate Portal the equivalent of a "moderate buy" and two recommend the stock as a "strong buy".>