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Ahead of the Bell: Oracle shares up after report

Ahead of the Bell: Oracle shares up after surprise release of fourth-quarter report By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' Shares in Oracle rose 5 percent in premarket trading Tuesday after the software maker surprised investors with the early release of its fourth-quarter earnings report.

The company beat Wall Street expectations and new software licenses jumped.

Oracle earned $3.45 billion, or 69 cents per share, for the three months ending in May. That compared to income of $3.2 billion, or 62 cents per share, at the same time last year.

Not counting acquisition expenses and other costs, Oracle said it would have earned 82 cents per share. On that basis, Oracle exceeded the average estimate of 78 cents per share held among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue edged up 1 percent from last year to $10.9 billion, slightly higher than analyst projections.

Oracle also posted a 7 percent gain in its sales of new software licenses, an indicator of future earnings, since new licenses bring with them a steady stream of fees for maintenance and software upgrades.

Analysts saw little in the report, released late Monday, to change their underlying views of the company, but Walter Pritchard at Citigroup noted that investors have been concerned about global economic weakness and turmoil Oracle's sales force.

"We think these results should go a long way to allay those concerns," he wrote in a research report.

Shares of Oracle Corp. rose $1.35 to $28.46.

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