By Jim Finkle
BOSTON (Reuters) - Symantec Corp, the top maker of computer security software, beat Wall Street's profit estimates for a fourth consecutive quarter, saying it is benefiting from a surge in hacking activity.
"The current threat landscape continues to be toxic and targeted," Symantec Chief Executive Enrique Salem said in a statement.
After seeing Symantec beat forecasts for a full year, investors can have confidence in the company's ability to meet or beat expectations, said Daniel Ives, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets.
Symantec was known for posting earnings that were either sharply above or below investors' expectations, making some cautious about investing in the stock, Ives said.
"Consistency has been the company's Achilles heel. It looks like it is back in the story," Ives said.
Chief Financial Officer James Beer said he was pleased with the performance of most of the company's divisions, including ones that sell security software to consumers and large corporations as well as its backup software unit.
He singled out the company's products for small- and mid-sized businesses as underperformers.
"We'd like to be doing better," he said in an interview, adding that the company recently restructured that division to improve its performance.
Symantec has named group President Rowan Trollope to oversee that business unit. He is also responsible for the company's cloud-based services.
The company reported profit, excluding items, of 40 cents per share, during the first quarter ended July 1, beating the average analyst forecast of 37 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
It posted revenue of $1.65 billion. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.59 billion.
The Mountain View, California-based software maker also forecast second-quarter per-share profit, excluding items, of 38 to 39 cents, in line with the average analyst forecast of 38 cents.
The company projected quarterly revenue of $1.66 billion to $1.68 billion, ahead of the average analyst forecast of $1.62 billion.
Symantec shares were little changed in extended trade from their Nasdaq close of $18.41.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Richard Chang)