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Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Symantec Corp., the biggest maker of computer security software, forecast lower sales and profit than analysts predicted, evidence of slowing growth in demand for programs that repel malware attacks.
Profit excluding certain items will be 41 cents to 42 cents a share in the fiscal fourth quarter, the Mountain View, California-based company said today in a statement. Sales in the current period will rise to $1.72 billion to $1.73 billion, Symantec said. That fell short of the predictions of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, who on average, projected earnings of 43 cents on sales of $1.75 billion.
A proliferation of hacking attacks has fueled the need for computer defenses. Still, Symantec suffered from a drop-off in consumer demand, said Steve Ashley, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee. Economic malaise in Europe had already prompted some companies to curtail technology spending.
“The challenge is that this is a big company and by virtue of its success, many businesses have their product already and those end markets just aren’t really growing,” Ashley said in an interview before Symantec reported the results.
Net income in the third quarter, which ended in December, almost doubled to $240 million, or 32 cents a share, $132 million, or 17 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 6.9 percent to $1.72 billion.
--Editors: Tom Giles
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