UPDATE 2-Symantec outlook disappoints, shares fall

* Fiscal Q3 EPS ex items $0.40 cents vs Street’s $0.37

* Sees Q4 EPS ex items $0.36-$0.37 vs Street’s $0.37

* CEO cites currency headwinds

* Shares fall more than 4 pct
(Adds CEO and analyst’s comments, dollar background)

NEW YORK, Jan 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Business software maker
Symantec Corp (SYMC.O: ) reported higher-than-expected profit,
but a tepid forecast for the current quarter disappointed those
who expected a more bullish outlook and the company’s shares
fell more than 4 percent after-hours.

Chief Executive Enrique Salem attributed the somewhat
cautious outlook to a stronger dollar, which decreases the
value of overseas profits when repatriated. Its international
business accounts for around half of Symantec’s revenue.

The dollar earlier on Wednesday hit a six-month high
against the euro.

“We do see the dollar-euro exchange rate changing a little
bit. We saw the dollar strengthen from $1.47 to trade now at
$1.40, something that does affect our results,” Salem said.

The world’s biggest maker of security and backup software
said earnings excluding items was 40 cents per share in the
fiscal third quarter ended Jan. 1, higher than the average
forecast of 37 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company noted strong momentum in its consumer business
as well as licensing and maintenance revenues.

Net income was $300 million, or 37 cents per share,
compared to a loss of $6.82 billion, or $6.82 a share, in the
same quarter a year earlier. The year-ago figures included a
massive goodwill impairment charge.

For the fourth quarter, the company forecast earnings
excluding items of 36 cents to 37 cents a share. Analysts on
average expected earnings of 37 cents a share.

Symantec shares fell to around $17.80 after-hours after
closing at $18.61. Some analysts noted weakness in Symantec’s
storage and server business in the quarter.

Despite the market’s disappointment, Daniel Ives, analyst
at FBR Capital Markets, held to an “outperform” rating.

“I think they’re turning around the ship in rough water,
and in the right direction,” he said.

Symantec had struggled in 2009 with both a weak economy and
tough competition from rival McAfee Inc (MFE.N: ).

Salem said there was nothing new to report regarding its
exclusive deal with Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N: ), which is expected
to expire some time around the end of the year.

Under the agreement, HP’s personal computers are preloaded
with Symantec’s Norton antivirus software. McAfee has said it
wants to replace Symantec in that deal.

Stock Market Analysis

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; editing by Andre Grenon, Bernard

UPDATE 2-Symantec outlook disappoints, shares fall