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Cognizant 4Q earnings jump 28 percent

Tue, 02/09/2010 - 5:01am
The Associated Press

Cognizant Technology posted surprisingly large numbers for profit and revenue Tuesday and topped the fourth-quarter report with a 2010 outlook that exceeded most expectations as technology spending rebounds.

Company shares rose $1.74, or 4 percent, to $45.48 in premarket trading.

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., which provides information technology outsourcing for other companies, earned $144 million, or 47 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. That's up 28 percent from $112.3 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time expenses related to stock-based compensation, the company said it earned 50 cents per share in the most recent quarter.

Revenue jumped 20 percent to $902.7 million.

Wall Street analysts, who generally exclude one-time costs, predicted earnings of 46 cents per share, but revenue of only $888.4 million.

And while much of the company is based in India, most of its revenues come from North America, particularly the financial services sector.

That could be a good sign for the economy.

The company's projections for the quarter ending in March were also surprisingly upbeat.

It expects earnings before unusual items of 52 cents per share and revenue of at least $935 million. Analysts were anticipating 47 cents and $912.6 million.

Cognizant said it managed to improve its performance last year without resorting to the kind of painful cost cutting many other companies have. The company said its work force grew by more than 16,700 people.

Full-year earnings totaled $535 million, or $1.78 per share, up from $430.8 million, or $1.44 per share. Revenue came to $3.28 billion, up from $2.82 billion.

For all of 2010, Cognizant said it expects adjusted earnings of $2.19 per share and revenue of at least $3.94 billion.

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