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Quest Continues To Slide on Mixed Results

Shares of Aliso Viejo’s Quest Software Inc., a maker of business software, continued their bearish slide on Friday, a day after the company gave mixed fourth quarter results.

Investors sent shares down more than 3% near the close of trading on a market value of about $2 billion.

MKM Partners LLC analyst Aaron Schwartz said in a note to clients that 2011 marks a “transformational year” for Quest that’s set to bring some “downward earnings revisions,” according to stock tracker Marketwatch.com.

After the close of trading on Thursday, Quest posted profits for the fourth quarter that were shy of Wall Street’s expectations.

Excluding charges for stock compensation, write-downs on assets, acquisitions and other onetime costs, Quest posted $38 million, up 3% from a year ago and just shy of analysts’ expected $40 million in profits.

Quest saw sales of $217 million, up 11% from a year ago and beating analysts’ expected $215 million in sales.

Quest ended the year with nearly half a billion dollars in cash and short-term assets.

The company didn’t give an outlook for the current quarter.

Analysts, on average, are looking for Quest to post first-quarter profits of $30 million, up roughly 30% from a year earlier, on sales of $189 million, up 11% from a year ago.

Quest makes software that helps corporations become more efficient by improving on existing applications by Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp. and others.

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