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Symantec beats 3Q estimates, sets buyback

    Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) reported third quarter results that easily beat consensus estimates and announced a massive stock buyback.

    After market close, the maker of security and utility software reported fiscal third quarter net income of $51.4 million, or 78 cents per share, excluding special charges. Analyst consensus predicted a profit of 73 cents per share, according to earnings tracking firm First Call.

    Directors of Symantec approved a plan to buy back up to $700 million of shares. Symantec had 75 million shares outstanding at the end of December. At Wednesday's closing price of 44, the company carries market capitalization of roughly $3.3 billion.

    Shares of Symantec rose to 51.5625 in Wednesday's afterhours trading on the Island electronic communications network, following the news. The stock has lost about half its value since peaking at 81.625 in March.

    Third quarter revenue increased 18 percent year-over-year to $219.3 million, including $7.9 million from the recently-acquired Axent Technologies. The third quarter traditionally is Symantec's strongest sales period.

    Other software companies reporting quarterly results Wednesday:

  • Citrix Systems
  • (Nasdaq: CTXS) exceeded analyst estimates by a penny in the fourth quarter.

    The vendor of software and services for application servers reported fourth quarter operating income of $31.7 million, or 16 cents per share, excluding special charges. Analyst consensus predicted a profit of 15 cents per share for the company's December quarter, according to First Call.

    Including amortization, Citrix earned $19.4 million, or 10 cents per share.

    For the full 2000, Citrix earned $94.5 million, or 47 cents per share, on revenue of $470.4 million.

  • Marimba
  • (Nasdaq: MRBA) reported a fourth quarter loss in line with forecasts.

    The Internet infrastructure management software company posted a loss, excluding amortization expense, of $1.7 million or seven cents per share, in line with the average Wall Street forecast, according to First Call.

    In the year-ago quarter, Marimba lost $138,000, or one cent per share, excluding amortization expense.

    Marimba had revenue of $11.3 million, compared with $10.1 million in the year-earlier quarter.>