UPDATE 2-Intuit raises earnings forecast, shares rise

Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:13pm EST

* EPS of 32 cents vs. Street View 30 cents

* Raises third-quarter earnings outlook

* Shares rise 2 percent after-hours (Adds analyst's comment, estimates, stock price, byline)

By Liana B. Baker

NEW YORK, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Intuit Inc (INTU.O), the maker of TurboTax and QuickBooks accounting software, reported a profit that beat Wall Street expectations and raised its quarterly earnings forecast, sending its shares up 2 percent.

The company estimated third-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.22 to $2.30 per share. The high end of that range is above the $2.24 per share analysts were expecting.

Intuit's adjusted earnings per share of 32 cents exceeded analysts' average estimate of 30 cents according to Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S.

Intuit's shares initially fell after it reported earnings because Wall Street did not understand why revenue was light, said Gleacher & Co analyst Yun Kim.

However, the stock rebounded once analysts realized it was due to a shift in timing, Kim said. Intuit shares rose 2.2 percent to $51.50 in after-hours trading.

In January, the company said it would have to move $40 million to $60 million of its revenue from the second quarter to the third quarter. The Internal Revenue Service did not allow many of Intuit's customers to file taxes electronically in the month of January, which affected the company's year-over-year sales.

"There really is nothing negative here," Kim said. "They are the No. 1 market share leader in tax prep software and more and more people are using their products."

Separately, the company said unit sales of its TurboTax product were up 1 percent since last year. Kim said this was a good sign because it is a strong start for Intuit and it can only gain since the trend is for people to wait until the last minute to file their taxes.

The company on Thursday posted net income of $73 million, or 23 cents per share, for its fiscal second quarter ended Jan. 31, down from $114 million, or 35 cents per share, a year earlier.

Its revenue rose 5 percent to $878 million in the quarter from $837 million a year earlier.

Intuit generates most of its profit in its fiscal second and third quarters when more people buy its do-it-yourself tax preparation software in the run-up to tax season.

Shares closed up 32 cents at $50.44 on Nasdaq on Thursday. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Richard Chang)

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