September 28, 2012 at 07:57 AM EDT
Accenture’s Q4 Profit Slips 7%, but Still Beats View; Dividend Raised by 20% (ACN)

Consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture plc (ACN) late Thursday posted better-than-expected fiscal fourth quarter earnings, offered an optimistic current-year forecast, and lifted its semi-annual dividend payout by 20%.

The Dublin, Ireland-based company reported fiscal fourth quarter net income of $578 million, or 88 cents per share, compared with $612 million, or 91 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 2% from last year to $6.84 billion.

On average, Wall Street analysts expected a smaller profit of 88 cents per share, on lower revenue of $675 million.

Looking ahead, ACN forecast 2013 earnings to range from $4.22 to $4.30 per share, while analysts are looking for $4.17 per share for the current fiscal year.

In another announcement, the company’s board of directors approved a 20% raise to its semi-annual dividend payout. The new dividend of 81 cents per share, up from 67.5 cents previously, will be paid on Nov. 15 with an ex-dividend date of Oct. 10.

Accenture shares rose $2.51, or +3.8%, in premarket trading Friday.

The Bottom Line
Shares of Accenture (ACN) will now have a 2.48% dividend yield, based on the higher dividend payout and last night’s closing stock price of $65.38. The stock has technical support in the $61-$62 price area. The shares are trading near all-time highs.

Accenture plc (ACN) is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks, as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here.

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