Oracle stock jumps amid strong sales outlook

Pundits say Ellison's company is well set up for new year

Shares of Oracle surged to a record on Monday amid optimism that orders going into the new year are strong and that electronic-commerce consulting revenues will increase.

The shares rose 3-11/16 to 51-1/4 in midday trading of 13.4 million, making it the second most active stock on the Nasdaq. Earlier, the stock touched a record 51-3/8. The stock has risen 65 percent in the year to date.

Merrill Lynch analyst Chris Shilakes said in a note to clients that he met with Oracle Chief Financial Officer Jeff Henley and Executive Vice President Gary Bloom on Friday and left the meetings "with a reaffirmed confidence that Oracle is very well positioned for 2000, especially with (a) new applications product cycle and (an) increasing shift of data-base sales to e-commerce drivers." Shilakes also raised his 12-month price target on Oracle stock to $60 (£37) from $55, or 43 times his calendar year 2001 earnings per share estimate of $1.40.

Oracle, the world's largest database software company, also told Shilakes that "15 to 20 percent database growth is sustainable going forward," the analyst told clients in the report. "Our takeaway from the meetings was a more confident Oracle, and comfort with the current November quarter estimates, although one more month remains" in the company's fiscal second quarter, Shilakes wrote.

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