Oracle Profits Fall, But Beat Street

Oracle Corp., the world's second-largest software maker, on Monday posted fiscal fourth-quarter per share profits that were flat on year-ago levels due to slightly lower revenues -- but the results were better than what analysts had forecast.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software vendor had net income of $855 million, or 15 cents per diluted share in the latest quarter, down from a year ago when net income was or 15 cents per diluted share.

Analysts, on average, had expected Oracle to earn 14 cents a share on sales of $3.4 billion, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. The company had forecast per-share earnings of 15 cents for the quarter.

The year-ago profits were reported an adjusted basis, stripping out big profits from the sale of shares in Oracle Japan.

Looking ahead, Oracle Chief Financial Officer Jeff Henley told Reuters that the company expects first-quarter license revenue growth to be ``zero'' and earnings to be 8 cents a share, matching the company's year-ago results.

Revenues were $3.26 billion, down from $3.37 billion a year ago.

Oracle shares, which finished 16 cents lower at $14.84, rose to $15.38 in after-hours trading on the Instinet electronic brokerage system.