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In an apparent effort to give a boost to it sagging share price, German software maker SAP AG (SAP -29-1/4) issued a surprise early announcement of its fourth-quarter earnings. SAP said earlier today that preliminary analysis shows fourth-quarter total revenues of EUR2.1 billion, 27 percent higher than the same period last year.
Sales growth in the quarter was partly due to strong software license sales, which were up 25 percent, to just over EUR1 billion.
Operating income, not including charges for the employee stock option program, was up more than 40 percent to EUR600 million.
The actual report should be released around January 23.
The report has apparently been well received, as SAP shares have risen as much as 15 percent in early trading (bucking the rest of the DAX).
Six analysts have already come forward with upgrades on the shares, today. Currently the Street still maintains a less than jubilant view of SAP, with 27 analysts giving it a "buy" or better, while 29 rate it a "hold," and two actually see it as an outright "sell."
The short interest ratio (S.I.R.) for SAP is currently at 13.1. This means that it would take 13.1 trading days, at the current average trading volume, to liquidate all of the short positions if the shares rallied and forced the short sellers to become buyers. A ratio this high could add substantial fuel to a near-term rally. This is the highest S.I.R. SAP has seen since August 1999.