Accenture achieves strong Q1 results

Date: 21-12-2007
Source: Associated Press

Shares of Bermuda-based consulting firm Accenture Ltd. rose Thursday after the company reported a 25 percent increase in fiscal first-quarter profit and after several analysts reiterated their "Buy" ratings on the stock.

Shares gained $2.28, or 6.5 percent, to $37.24 Thursday. Shares have traded between $33.03 and $44.03 in the past 12 months.

Late Wednesday, Accenture reported net income of $381.3 million, or 60 cents per share, on revenue of $6.1 billion, surpassing Wall Street's expectations. The company also raised its full-year earnings outlook above analyst estimates.

"Accenture's strong results across the board reinforce our view that the company is one of the strongest players in the IT services space from a number of angles: agility, financial strength, broad service offering, client relationships, and global delivery capability," wrote George Price, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., in a note to investors. Price maintained a "Buy" rating and a $44 target price on the stock.

Likewise, Needham & Co. analyst Jonathan Maietta reiterated a "Buy" rating on the stock, calling Accenture an ideal investment.

What's more, Accenture's results were impressive in light of fears of a spending slowdown, said KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Anurag Rana. Combined with better-than-expected quarterly results from business software maker Oracle Corp., Accenture's results should quell investor concern regarding the overall spending environment and send shares rising, said Rana, who has a "Buy" rating on the stock.