Autodesk skips past 3Q estimates

Autodesk blew past analysts' estimates in its third quarter Tuesday, earning $16.7m (£10m), or 27 cents a share, on sales of $202m

First Call consensus expected the software developer to earn 13 cents a share in the quarter. Autodesk shares closed up 1 7/16 to 25 1/2 ahead of the earnings report.

It reported net income of $1.4m, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $202m in the quarter. "Our results for the quarter reflect improved profitability over last quarter, while we continued to invest in the development of exciting technologies," said CEO Carol Bartz in a prepared release.

After the bell, company officials said it will also buy back up to 8 million shares of common stock. In the year-ago quarter, it earned $24m, or 42 cents a share, on sales of $204.6m. Last quarter, Autodesk missed analysts' reduced estimates, earning $400,000, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $203 million.

Autodesk shares peaked at 49 7/16 in January before falling to a low of 17 in October. Eight of the 11 analysts tracking the stock rate it a "hold." First Call consensus expects it to earn 79 cents a share in the fiscal year.

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