Accenture Exceeds 1st Quarter Expectations

Accenture Ltd., the world's largest consulting firm, formerly a part of Big Five firm Arthur Andersen, has announced that the firm will exceed analysts' expectations with operating results for the first quarter which ended November 30.

With reports of earnings in the 24 to 25 cents per share range and net profits expected to be 6.8% over Credit Suisse First Boston's forecasts, Accenture's stock rose to a 52-week high of $27.81 last week.

"Our strong performance demonstrates our ongoing ability to provide clients with the services and solutions they require, especially in challenging times like these," said Accenture's CEO, Joe Forehand, referring to the worldwide economic slump and the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Accenture's European operation led the firms' growth for the quarter, particular in the public sector areas of government and health care, and the firms' overall performance has been nurtured by its outsourcing services.

Responding to a decline in the consulting industry as a whole, Accenture cut its workforce this year by 2,300 people.

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