Accenture Accents Profits

Accenture shares rose in late trading Wednesday after the consulting and services firm delivered better than expected results and guidance.

Accenture’s earnings of 46 cents a share were four cents ahead of estimates, while sales rose 14% to $4.75 billion, well ahead of $4.51 billion forecasts.

The company’s forward guidance was also better than analysts were looking for, and $5.5 billion in consulting and outsourcing bookings raised hopes that the good news will continue.

Accenture shares gained 2% in after-hours trading.

Also after the close, Jabil fell 3% on a warning.

Stocks finished the day with modest losses after an early rally on merger news gave way to profit-taking.

Redback Networks was the tech standout of the day, soaring 21% on a takeover offer from Ericsson .

HP gained 2% on a Bank of America upgrade.

Palm slipped 1% after beating estimates but lowering guidance. Systemax surged 16% on its results.

Digitas soared 22% on a buyout offer from Publicis .

The Nasdaq lost 2 to 2427, the S&P 500 slipped 2 to 1423, and the Dow gave back 7 to 12,463. Volume declined to 2.33 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.81 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 18-14 on the NYSE, and 17-13 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 54% on the NYSE, and 55% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 252-18 on the NYSE, and 98-48 on the Nasdaq.

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