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Accenture falls as 1Q revenue misses Street

NEW YORK (AP) -- Accenture's stock fell more than 3 percent Thursday as the consulting firm's fiscal first-quarter revenue missed analysts' estimates, and it provided a second-quarter revenue forecast below Wall Street expectations.

THE SPARK: Accenture PLC reported Wednesday that it earned $1.06 per share for the three months ended Nov. 30. Revenue climbed to $7.66 billion from $7.59 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $1.05 per share on revenue of $7.82 billion.

For the second quarter, Accenture anticipates revenue in a range of $6.9 billion to $7.15 billion. Wall Street foresees $7.64 billion in revenue.

THE ANALYSIS: Cowen and Co.'s Moshe Katrl said Accenture's quarterly revenue was hurt by soft European-based consulting demand.

But the analyst said that that investors should view any weakness in the stock as a buying opportunity, saying that Accenture looks well positioned into 2013 in part because it is gaining market share and maintaining strong traction with existing and new clients.

Katrl reaffirmed an "Outperform" rating.

Jason Kupferberg of Jefferies said that Accenture's first-quarter revenue performance and second-quarter revenue outlook were modestly disappointing and anticipated that it would cause a bit of a sell-off in the stock.

Still, Kupferberg said that the first-quarter was not bad for Accenture, as its operating margin and earnings beat his expectations.

The analyst kept a "Hold" rating and $66 price target.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Accenture dropped $2.15, or 3.1 percent, to $68.25 in afternoon trading on Thursday. The stock has traded between $51.47 and $71.79 over the past year.