Oracle Warns on Q3, Blames Asia Sales

Oracle Corp. (ORCL),  the world's second-biggest software vendor, warned on Friday its fiscal third-quarter earnings would be a penny lower per share than its original forecast, hurt by slow sales in Asia.

Oracle's stock fell about 8 percent on the after-hours warning, dropping to $14.71 in extended trade from a regular session close of $15.99 on Nasdaq. 

The company's new forecast is for earnings of 9 cents a share. In January, Redwood Shores, California-based Oracle had said it expected to see a flat quarter-over-quarter profit of 10 cents. 

``While software sales in the United States and Europe increased slightly over the second quarter, that increase was not enough to offset a slowdown in Asia,'' Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison said in a statement. 

``Based on preliminary estimates, it appears that our third quarter year-over-year growth rates for software sales and operating income were about the same as those for the second quarter,'' Oracle Chief Financial Officer Jeff Henley said. 

``I'm not really surprised. It's just weaker out there than was built into their guidance,'' Sanford Bernstein analyst Charles Di Bona told Reuters. 

``I would think that this may mean that they have to bring their Q4 numbers down,'' Di Bona added. 

In January, Oracle had forecast that its fourth-quarter per-share earnings could be 2 cents to 3 cents higher than the 15-cent profit the company reported in the year-earlier period. 

Oracle is scheduled to announce its final financial results March 14.