Symantec tumbles on 2Q earnings, downgrades

Symantec shares fell $7.63, or 20 percent, to a 52-week low of $32 Thursday after analysts downgraded the security software developer in the wake of its second-quarter earnings report.

In the quarter, Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) posted a profit of $45.8 million, or 72 cents a share, on sales of $192.3 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 69 cents a share in the quarter.

However, the $192.3 million in sales was only a 14 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $31 million, or 52 cents a share, on sales of $169.2 million.

Following the earnings report, CEO John Thompson said the company was able to top the consensus estimate despite disappointing sales of its pcAnywhere offering.

He added that the company would improve the security aspect of pcAnywhere for the next generation of the product expected to be released in March and reinvigorate its growth rate to the mid-teens to high-20 percent.

On Thursday, Pacific Crest Securities cut the stock from a "strong buy" rating to a "buy" while Adams Harkness and Prudential Securities both slashed it from a "strong buy" to an "accumulate" recommendation.

Analysts expect Symantec to earn 73 cents a share in its third quarter and $2.87 a share in the fiscal year.

The stock moved as high as $81.63 in March before falling to a new low Thursday.