Shares of Accenture PLC
surged 4.6% toward record territory in premarket trading Thursday, after the consulting services company reported fiscal first-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations and provided an upbeat outlook. Net income for the quarter to Nov. 30 increased to $1.50 billion, or $2.32 a share, from $1.36 billion, or $2.09 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, such as investment gains, adjusted earnings per share rose to $2.17 from $2.01, above the FactSet consensus of $2.02. Revenue rose 4% to $11.76 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $11.28 billion. New bookings grew 25% to $12.9 billion. Accenture said it spent $769 million to buy back 3.3 million shares during the quarter. Looking ahead, the company expects second quarter revenue of $11.55 billion to $11.95 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $11.39 billion, and raised its full-year revenue growth forecast to 4% to 6% from 2% to 5%. The stock, which is on track to open above its Dec. 4 record close of $253.44, has rallied 17.5% year to date through Wednesday, while the S&P 500
has gained 14.6%.