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Accenture raises its full-year outlook

TECHNOLOGY outsourcing and consulting firm Accenture Ltd raised its full-year outlook, saying some customers were beginning to make investment decisions after a long freeze in such plans.

And while Accenture's fiscal third-quarter profit fell due to a slower economy and a stronger dollar, the results were better than Wall Street expected and helped the shares rise 4.3 percent.

Accenture said on Thursday its profit for the quarter ended May 31 fell to US$444 million, or 68 cents a share, from US$469 million, or 74 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts on average had expected profit per share of 64 cents.

Chief Executive William Green said customers were beginning to deal better with the challenging environment.

"They are back in the saddle, starting to plan investment decisions," he said, adding that while he needed another few months to declare things were stabilizing, he was optimistic.

The company raised its earnings per share outlook for the full year to US$2.67 to US$2.70 from a previous range of US$2.60 to US$2.67.

It had lowered its outlook last quarter as the global economic slowdown forced companies to stall business decisions, and a stronger dollar weighed down the value of overseas sales.

Chief Financial Officer Pamela Craig told investors on a conference call that there was "some positive activity" toward the end of the third quarter.

Analysts have said the company has been spared the worst impact of the economic slowdown due to demand for its outsourcing services.

Outsourcing revenues in the quarter fell 9 percent to US$2.2 billion, but rose slightly in local currency terms. Consulting revenues, however, fell 20 percent to US$3 billion.

Overall revenue fell to US$5.15 billion from US$6.10 billion, due in part to a stronger dollar, the company said.



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