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Citrix gains, earnings crush first quarter estimates

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Raul Sifuentes | LatinContent | Getty Images

Citrix Systems shares jumped to a fresh 16-year high Thursday as the company's first quarter earnings crushed forecasts.

It was the largest beat in a four-quarter streak of better-than-expected profits.

The business software maker earned $1.18 per share, well above the 26 cents consensus estimate. Revenue was also well above estimates. Citrix also raised its full-year 2016 guidance.

Read MoreCitrix tops Wall Street first quarter forecasts

The company is benefiting from both cost cuts and improved software sales. "The progress we made in refocusing the company-simplifying our portfolio and sharpening our message-is starting to pay off," said Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov in the company's press release.

Analysts' comments around the quarter have been mostly upbeat, with as many as 11 brokerage firms raising price targets on the stock on Thursday. Mizuho analyst Abhey Lamba said in a note that cost restructuring was a big factor behind Citrix's much better results.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank analyst Karl Keirstead views Citrix's 2016 guidance as conservative. He said in a note to investors, "In spite of a strong top-line beat, CTXS guided conservatively, citing (as it usually does) lumpiness in the NetScaler business."

The stock closed up more than 4 percent on Thursday following the earnings beat. Shares have gained 11 percent so far this year.