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Intuit Shares Fall 8% As TurboTax Sales Miss Mark

Shares of software maker Intuit fell as much as 8.8% on Thursday, the day after it said that unit sales of its key TurboTax product were up just 1% from a year ago.

UBS cut its price target on Intuit shares to $36 from $37, yet retained its "buy" rating on the stock. The stock was recently down $2.25, or 7.5%, at $27.75 on Nasdaq after falling as low as $27.37.

Intuit, which also makes makes Quicken financial software, backed its forecast for its fiscal year, which ends in July.

The company had cut the outlook in February to reflect costs from an acquisition and a deal to sell its payroll service business.

Intuit said late on Wednesday that with about one-third of the tax season remaining, it saw total TurboTax sales up 3% to 5%.

The company has said that the pace of TurboTax sales this year reflects the fact that more people these days file their returns closer to the April deadline. TurboTax generates about 25% of Intuit's revenue.

"While we anticipated strong TurboTax pricing growth this year on increases in both the retail software channel, as well as online, we had anticipated volume being more of a contributor than it now appears to be," wrote CIBC World Markets analyst Scott Schneeberger in a note.

Schneeberger also trimmed his fiscal 2007 per-share profit estimate to $1.37 from $1.40 and his calendar 2007 EPS estimate to $1.42 from $1.44. He cut his price target for the company's shares to $34 from $35.

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