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Cerner shares slip following 4Q report and outlook

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Cerner slumped Wednesday after the health care information technology company posted its fourth-quarter results and gave its first estimates for the new year.

THE SPARK: Cerner said Tuesday that it earned 39 cents per share in the fourth quarter if one-time costs, such as a litigation charge, are excluded. That's up from 34 cents per share a year ago. Its revenue grew 12 percent to $795.3 million as support, maintenance and service revenue climbed.

FactSet says analysts expected Cerner to report adjusted net income of 39 cents per share in net income and $795.7 million in revenue.

The legal settlement charge totaled $68 million. Cerner's support, maintenance and service revenue grew 19 percent to $531.1 million, but revenue from system sales fell 2 percent to $245.8 million.

THE BIG PICTURE: Cerner Corp. said it earned $1.41 per share in 2013 if one-time charges and gains are excluded. That's up from $1.20 per share in 2012. Revenue grew 9 percent to $2.91 billion.

For 2014 the Kansas City, Mo., company forecast net income of $1.62 to $1.67 per share excluding one-time costs and stock-based compensation, which is expected to total 11 to 12 cents per share. Cerner said it should report $3.2 billion to $3.4 billion in revenue.

Analysts expect net income of $1.67 per share and $3.35 billion in revenue on average.

In the fourth quarter Cerner booked $1.11 billion worth of contracts, up 9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012. The company said its bookings grew 20 percent in 2013.

THE ANALYSIS: Cowen and Co. analyst Charles Rhyee said the company is taking a larger and larger position in the market, but its fourth-quarter results and guidance suggest that its bookings growth is slowing down. He said that could hurt the stock.

Rhyee rates Cerner stock "Market Perform" with a price target of $52 per share.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Cerner declined $2.64, or 4.7 percent, to $53.96 in afternoon trading. The stock has risen 29 percent over the last year. In October it set an all-time high of $59.42.