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Harbinger&#039s 1Q earnings double analyst forecasts

    The first quarter saw Harbinger Corp. (Nasdaq: HRBC) earn twice as much as analysts expected.

    In results released after market close Tuesday, the e=commerce software vendor posted first quarter net income of $2.3 million, or 6 cents a share. First Call's survey of 14 analysts predicted earnings of 3 cents a share for the quarter ended Mar. 31.

    First quarter sales increased to $33.5 million, up 11 percent from $30.1 million a year earlier, when Harbinger lost $1.3 million, or 3 cents a share. Although earnings came in stronger than expected, the revenue boost does fall in line with last month's preannouncement, in which Harbinger told investors to expect strong first quarter results.

    Harbinger had 38,500 active customers at the end of the first quarter. Internet traffic on Harbinger's e-commerce network increased to 15 percent, from 8 percent in the fourth quarter, as the company continued to shift customers to Web-based commerce.

    Tuesday's announcement marks another step in Harbinger's turnaround from a horrendous 1998.

    "We are encouraged by our first quarter financial results and view it as a validation of the path we set for ourselves in the third and fourth quarters of 1998," said C. Tycho Howle, chairman and CEO of Harbinger. "What we now need to do is remain focused on our key strategic initiatives -- the continued development of our E-commerce portal, building a solutions versus a product mentality, instilling operational excellence in every facet of our business processes and migrating customers from legacy to Internet and IP communications."

    Shares of Harbinger went up 3/16 to 12 1/12 in Tuesday's trading prior to the earnings report. Of 16 analysts polled by Zack's Investment Research, seven rate Harbinger a "moderate buy", and nine maintain "hold" advisories on the stock.