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Merrill Reiterates Buy on Oracle

Oracle (ORCL) posted fiscal first-quarter earnings per share of 10 cents. Merrill Lunch says the database software outfit's results exceed estimates and reiterated its buy rating on the shares.

Analyst Jason Maynard says Oracle's $2.22 billion in revenue was slightly ahead of his $2.20 billion estimate, and its EPS of 10 cents beat his estimate by one cent. He says the first quarter was driven by solid performance in the database business, which grew a very impressive 19% year-over-year, more than offsetting continued weakness in its applications business, which was down 36%. Maynard says that while Oracle's license revenue guidance may appear lower than what he expected, he notes it reflects less favorable foreign exchange effects. He sees $2.6 billion in revenue and 13 cents EPS for the second quarter, which lies in the middle of Oracle's guidance range. The analyst maintains his fiscal 2005 (ending May) EPS estimate of 56 cents, and has a $16 price target on the shares.

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