) posted earnings per share (under generally accepted accounting principles) of 16 cents in the fourth quarter and sees 9% to 11% fiscal 2005 revenue growth. Legg Mason cut its estimates on Paychex.
Analyst Daniel Perlin says that Paychex' fourth quarter earnings per share, excluding items, totaled 20 cents, or 2 cents below his estimate and 1 cent below the consensus. Perlin notes that the shortfall stemmed from higher-than-expected operating, and selling, general, and administrative, expenses related to previous acquisitions and increases in personnel, as well as a slightly higher tax rate. He says that the fiscal 2005 (ending May) guidance is also slightly disappointing, with Paychex' forecast for total revenue growth below the current 12% consensus estimate, and below his 13% estimate. Perlin cut his $1.00 fiscal 2005 earnings per share estimate to 95 cents and his $1.462 billion fiscal 2005 revenue estimate to $1.442 billion. He maintains his hold opinion on the shares.