Accenture Beats the Street

Accenture got the earnings season off to a promising start by posting better than expected results after the bell on Thursday.

Accenture’s earnings of 36 cents a share beat Wall Street estimates by two cents. Sales climbed 12% to $4.17 billion, also ahead of forecasts. The company’s March sales guidance was a little shy of estimates, but the IT consulting and services firm raised full-year earnings guidance above analysts’ estimates, and new bookings were well above forecasts.

“We turned in another strong performance in the first quarter, achieving our highest quarterly net revenues ever, with growth in both U.S. dollars and local currency across all five operating groups and all three geographic regions,” Accenture CEO William Green said in a statement. “Given that we recorded $5.54 billion in new bookings, our highest in seven quarters, we feel confident that we are on the right trajectory to achieve our revenue goal for the year.”

Shares of Accenture climbed 3% in late trading.

Tech stocks posted their third straight gains during the day, while blue chips lagged on disappointing December retail sales. December unemployment data will be reported Friday morning.

The Nasdaq gained 13 to 2276, the S&P 500 was unchanged at 1273, and the Dow added 2 to 10,882. Volume declined to 2.43 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.95 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 18-14 on the NYSE, and 16-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 52% on the NYSE, and 74% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 199-35 on the NYSE, and 169-25 on the Nasdaq.

Computer Sciences rose 8% on reports of a possible buyout offer from HP .

Rambus soared 20% on a favorable patent ruling.

Cisco climbed 2.8% on positive comments from Citigroup.

Xilinx and Sierra Wireless surged after raising guidance.

Kronos lost 8% on a warning.

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