Analysts bullish on Oracle's earnings

Database management vendor expected to beat Wall Street forecasts after market close

I'll report the numbers when they're available after Thursday's trading bell, but the early word from analysts is that Oracle Corp. will turn in impressive first-quarter results.

According to MarketWatch, data from FactSet Research predicts the enterprise database giant will report earnings of 36 cents per share on revenue of $7.3 billion for the quarter ending in August. During the same period last year, the company reported revenue of $5.06 billion and earnings of 30 cents per share.

Oracle shares were trading early Thursday afternoon at $25.25, down nearly 2 percent from Wednesday's closing price of $25.74. But the company's stock has risen 18 percent so far in September and is close to its 52-week high of $26.63 set in mid-April. A year ago today Oracle closed at $22.13.

MarketWatch said Citigroup analyst Walter Pritchard estimated Oracle will report about a 13% increase in sales of new software licenses, indicated solid growth in new business during an economic downturn.

Oracle's conference call with analysts and media following the release of its earnings is expected to feature Mark Hurd, who recently was hired by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to be the company's co-president following Hurd's contentious departure in August as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. HP is suing Hurd in a bid to prevent him from working at one of its major competitors.

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