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Oracle's Q4 earnings rise 8%, top forecasts

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle's latest quarterly earnings climbed 8 percent, beating analysts' expectations.

The business software maker surprised investors by releasing the results Monday. The fiscal fourth-quarter report had been scheduled to come out Thursday.

Oracle Corp. didn't give a reason for the change of plans.

The numbers came out after several analysts published notes reporting that Oracle's top sales executive, Keith Block, may be leaving the company as part of a reorganization. Oracle didn't respond to requests for comment about Block's status.

The company earned US$3.45 billion, or 69 cents per share, for the three months ending in May. That compared to income of US$3.2 billion, or 62 cents per share, at the same time last year.

If not for items unrelated to its ongoing business, Oracle says it would have earned 82 cents per share. On that basis, Oracle exceeded the average estimate of 78 cents per share held among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue edged up 1 percent from last year to US$10.9 billion, slightly higher than analyst projections.

If not for a stronger dollar, which hurt its results outside the U.S., Oracle said its revenue would have increase by 5 percent from the same time last year.

Monday's report delivered another piece of heartening news for investors. Oracle intends to spend an additional US$10 billion buying back its own stock, a move that could help boost earnings per share in future quarters.

Oracle shares gained 87 cents, or more than 3 percent, to US$27.99 in extended trading. The stock had dropped 58 cents during Monday's regular session, as investors reacted to the reports of a possible shake-up on Oracle's North American sales team.

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The Oracle headquarters are shown in Redwood City, California, Monday, June 18. Oracle reported Monday that it earned US$3.45 billion, or 69 cents per share, for the three months ending in May.(AP)

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