Oracle Corp. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Henley on Tuesday said the world's No. 2 software maker was upbeat about 2002 and sticking by the guidance it issued in December.

``We're optimistic. We definitely think the worst is over and things are going to start getting better,'' Henley said via webcast from the Morgan Stanley Internet Software and Networking Conference in Phoenix.

On Dec. 13, Oracle's top brass said they believed that the company's business had bottomed in its recently completed fiscal second quarter.

On Tuesday, Henley said nothing had changed regarding the company's guidance issued that same day, which called for the company to post flat year-over-year third-quarter earnings of 10 cents and fourth-quarter results that are 2 cents to 3 cents better than the 15-cent profit Oracle reported in the year-ago period.

Oracle shares finished 26 cents higher at $15.75 on Tuesday as Standard & Poor's computer software index posted a slight gain.

Oracle's stock is down nearly 49 percent year-to-date, but up almost 12 percent since Jan. 1.