Earnings: Oracle | Williams-Sonoma

Oracle Posts Higher Profit

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Business software maker Oracle Corp. (ORCL) on Monday posted a higher quarterly profit, boosted by demand for new software licenses and its database software.

Third-quarter net income for the fiscal period ended February 28 rose to $765 million, or 14 cents per share, from $540 million, or 10 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $3.47 billion from $2.95 billion.

Excluding items the company said it posted a per-share profit of 19 cents. This was above the average Wall Street view of 18 cents as compiled by Reuters Estimates.

In the past two years, Oracle has spent some $19 billion buying up rivals to better challenge Germany's SAP AG (SAP) as it seeks a bigger share of the market for software aimed at big businesses that helps automate everything from human resources to accounting to inventory management.

Oracle's stock is up just 4 percent over the past year, due in part to investor wariness over a strategy that has included major acquisitions such as PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems. At the same time SAP shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange have gained 32 percent as the company has won new business.

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Williams-Sonoma Sees Profit Rise, Initiates First Dividend

SAN FRANCISCO - (AP) - Home furnishing retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSM), which owns the Pottery Barn and West Elm brands, said Monday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 6 percent and initiated its first quarterly cash dividend.

The company also said it expects double-digit revenue growth to drive its profit well above Wall Street estimates in the coming year.

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Net income grew to $120.8 million, or $1.02 per share, in the three months ended Jan. 29 from $113.7 million, or 95 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding a charge for its consolidation of the Hold Everything brand, the company reported earnings per share of $1.09 for the latest quarter.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $1.21 billion from $1.08 billion last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings per share of $1.09 on revenue of $1.22 billion.

The company declared a quarterly dividend of 10 cents, payable May 24 to shareholders of record as of April 26. Williams-Sonoma also will buy back up to 2 million shares of its stock. The company has about 115.4 million shares outstanding.

For fiscal 2006, the company said fiscal 2006 earnings, including accounting changes and a charge to consolidate the Hold Everything brand, are expected to range from $1.90 to $1.94 per share, up 5 percent to 7 percent from 2005.

Excluding the charges, earnings per share are expected at $2.15 to $2.19, an increase of 14 percent to 17 percent. Analysts expect Williams-Sonoma to earn $1.98 per share for the year, according to a Thomson Financial survey.

Revenue is expected to be in a range of $3.9 billion to $3.97 billion, up 10 percent to 12 percent from 2005. Analysts forecast $3.98 billion in revenue.

Same-store sales growth — an important measure of growth at stores open at least one year — is projected to range from 3 percent to 5 percent, compared with 2005 same-store sales growth of 4.9 percent.

Direct-to-customer revenue, which includes catalog and Internet sales, is projected at $1.67 billion to $1.71 billion, an increase of 11 percent to 13 percent versus 2005.

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