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PeopleSoft doubles analysts&#039 4Q estimates

PeopleSoft Inc. (Nasdaq: PSFT) beat Street estimates in its fourth quarter Tuesday, earning $11.1 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $372.3 million.

First Call consensus expected it to earn 2 cents a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, PeopleSoft shares moved up 3 9/16, or 16 percent, to 26 1/16.

In the year-ago quarter, PeopleSoft raked in $42.3 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $411.3 million.

"The fourth quarter marked a much anticipated return in customer demand for PeopleSoft and our industry," said CEO Craig Conway in a prepared release. "With the growth in licensing activity, the addition of a functionally rich CRM product suite, and the release of our new, pure HTML PeopleSoft Internet Architecture, PeopleSoft has become a stronger competitor in a rapidly improving industry."

In the quarter, PeopleSoft's licensing sales jumped 45 percent from the third quarter, with enterprise software licensing improving 37 percent and customer relationship management sales soaring up 68 percent.

However, services sales slipped 1 percent from the previous quarter.

For the year, PeopleSoft earned $21 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $1.42 billion, down from a profit of $164.1 million, or 58 cents a share, on sales of $1.47 billion in fiscal 1998.

PeopleSoft shares slid to a 52-week low of 11 1/2 in April after the company warned that Y2K fears would erode sales and margins throughout the remainder of fiscal 1999.

Last quarter, it also topped analysts' estimates when it pocketed $5.2 million, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $303 million.

Its shares hit a 52-week high of 27 3/4 last month.

Eighteen of the 21 analysts tracking the stock rate it a "hold."

First Call consensus is looking for a profit of 22 cents a share in fiscal 2000.