Intuit Gains as Results Top Forecasts

Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) rose US$3.75 to $36.44 in morning trading Wednesday after the software maker’s results for the fiscal second quarter beat analyst estimates.

The Mountain View, California-based maker of the popular Quicken and TurboTax tax programs said that pro forma net income, which excludes extraordinary items, rose 9 percent from a year earlier to $104.2 million, or 48 cents per share, better than the 45 cents expected by analysts.

President and chief executive officer Steve Bennett said the company is “off to a solid start” this tax season.

“Our high-growth service businesses, payroll and Quicken Loans, are gaining momentum,” Bennett said, adding that software sales are strong.

Intuit said that it has raised prices for its desktop and Web products, which should help boost revenue. The company also said that as of February 10th, it had handled more than 3 million federal and state tax returns filed electronically, more than double last year’s pace.

The company added that it has more than $1.4 billion in cash and short-term investments on hand, and “essentially” no debt.

“This continues to provide the company with the tools to grow its business,” Intuit said.

The company said that net income for the quarter ended January 31st totaled $26.6 million, or 12 cents per share, down from $57.3 million, or 27 cents, in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue rose 8 percent to $457.6 million.

Net income in the latest quarter included $71.9 million in pretax losses on marketable securities and other investments. The year-ago quarter included losses of $2.8 million.

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