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Author: Alan LittleDate: 2020-09-25

Accenture (ACN) shares down 6% after fiscal Q4 misses

Accenture (ACN) shares were trading 6% lower on Thursday after the Irish professional services company fell short of Wall Street expectations for earnings and revenue in fiscal Q4.

Before the opening bell, Accenture posted adjusted earnings of $1.70 per share for the three-month period ending 31st August, which came up three cents short of the pre-report forecast ($1.73).

Overall revenue also declined 2% year over year to $10.84bn versus the $10.93bn FactSet consensus.

The Dublin-based company said that a drop-off in revenues from reimbursable travel costs was to blame for the underwhelming returns for the latest quarter.

The “volatility, uncertainty and economic disruption” caused by COVID-19 had also been a major drag on business continuity and performance.

However, new bookings did climb 8% to $14bn as consulting and outsourcing services brought in $6.5bn and $7.5bn, respectively.

Looking ahead to the new fiscal year (2021), Accenture forecast a $7.80-$8.10 per share earnings range versus the $8.13 expectations from analysts.

The latest financial report comes a week after Accenture revealed its plans to invest $3bn into a tech service that will help its clients to adopt a “cloud first” mindset.

Accenture CEO Julia Sweet said that the pandemic has forced companies to “dramatically accelerate” digital transformation plans and cloud computing migration.

ACN stock advanced 9.5% for the year-to-date through Wednesday, but shares went into reverse on Thursday.

At around 10:50am (ET) on the New York Stock Exchange, Accenture shares were down 6.13% to $216.51.

The analyst consensus for ACN remains at buy, with 16 buy ratings, seven hold ratings and only one at sell.

The consensus price target is $233.

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