Oracle Reports Improved Earnings, but Shares Slip with Wires
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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

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.