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Accenture beats quarterly estimates on digital and cloud strength

FILE PHOTO: Visitors look at devices at Accenture stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Albert Gea

(Reuters) - Accenture Plc beat Wall Street estimates for first-quarter earnings on Thursday, as investments in its fast-growing digital and cloud services businesses continue to pay off.

The IT consulting firm shifted its focus to offering digital and cloud services, which include everything from managing clients’ social media marketing strategies to helping them move to the cloud, in a bid to boost margins.

The company reported gross margin of 32.1%, compared with 31.1% a year earlier.

The consulting and outsourcing services provider forecast current-quarter revenue between $10.85 billion and $11.15 billion, the midpoint of which is below the average analyst estimate of $11.09 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net income attributable to the company rose to $1.36 billion, or $2.09 per share, in the first-quarter ended Nov. 30, from $1.27 billion, or $1.96 per share, a year earlier.

The company earned a quarterly profit of $2.09 per share, above analysts’ expectations of $2 per share.

Net revenue rose to $11.36 billion, beating estimates of $11.14 billion.

Shares of the company rose 1.03% in premarket trading.

Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri