Oracle Reports Improved Earnings, but Shares Slip

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Oracle reported a profit that rose over last year and topped what analysts were expecting from the company as revenue from new software licenses ratcheted higher for the second quarter in a row.

The business software giant reported earnings of 38 cents excluding one-time items for its fiscal third quarter, up from 35 cents a share in the same period last year.

Revenue at the company, whose rivals include International Business Machines , SAPand Hewlett-Packard , rose 17 percent to $6.4 billion.

Oracle Reports Earnings
Oracle Reports Earnings   

The report by the world's biggest maker of database software may stoke hopes that technology spending by businesses is on the mend after it collapsed a year ago in the recession. Oracle, which reports earnings a month ahead of its peers, is seen as an industry bellwether because of its size.

Analysts who follow Oracle expected the company to earn 37 cents a share on sales of $6.349 billion, according to a consensus estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters.

Shares of Oracle moved slightly lower in extended trading Thursday. Get after-hour quotes for Oracle here.

The stock finished regular hours up 1 percent at $26.04.

Oracle said its net income, which includes one-time items, was $1.2 billion, or 23 cents per share, in the three months ended Feb. 28.

Quarterly new software sales rose 13 percent from a year earlier to $1.7 billion. Three months ago, the company forecast that they would decline 1 percent to increase 9 percent.

Investors focus on new software sales because they are a forward indicator of Oracle's profit. Customers generally sign maintenance contracts when they buy software, which locks in predictable, recurring revenue.

- Reuters and AP contributed to this report.