Oracle Net Earnings Down, Doesn't See Fast Recovery

Oracle Corp. (ORCL), the world's second-biggest software maker, Thursday said its fiscal third-quarter net earnings fell slightly from a year ago, and that the technology spending environment remains weak.

The Redwood Shores, California, database giant posted net income of $508 million, or 9 cents per share in the quarter ended Feb. 28, compared with net income of $583 million, or 10 cents, in the year-ago quarter.

The results were in line with expectations the company revised on March 1, when it warned that weak sales in Asia would cause per-share earnings to fall a penny short of its original forecast for a net profit of 10 cents.

License revenue, which comes from software sales and is a gauge of future performance, slipped to $790 million from $1.1 billion a year ago.

Total revenue fell to $2.2 billion from $2.7 billion year-on-year.

"It's very sluggish and doesn't seem yet to be showing signs of recovery," Oracle Chief Financial Officer Jeff Henley said, referring to corporate technology spending.

Henley pinned about 80 percent of the blame for the company's miss on economic factors and said he did not expect to see spending improve "in the next quarter or two."

Oracle shares finished Thursday's regular Nasdaq session down 45 cents, about 3 percent, at $13.44. The stock dipped to to $13.17 in extended trade on Instinet following the release of its results.