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Investors welcome Sage move.

Shares in accountancy software group Sage sparkled yesterday after a reassuring trading update soothed jittery investors.

Sage, the only tech firm left in the FTSE 100 Index, said it was on course to report full-year pre-tax profits in line with current market expectations.

In a brief statement to the stock market it added: 'This performance, in challenging market conditions, was encouraging, notably the progress made by Interact.'

Sage bought Interact, an US customer relationship management business, in May last year Investors appeared to agree and shares in the group jumped three per cent following the announcement.

Analysts are expecting pretax profits to come in around pounds 134 million for the recent financial year to September 30.

Last year Sage posted pre-tax profits of pounds 121.3 million on turnover of pounds 484.1 million.

Sage, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, sells accountancy software to small and medium sized enterprises.

It became the sole blue-chip tech stock in June after computer services firm Logica and chip designer ARM were booted out in a quarterly reshuffle.

Investors fell out of love with hi-tech stocks after market values dropped and the tech and telecom downturn dented sales and profits across the sector.

Like most of its counterparts, Sage's value soared in the tech boom, but it has been in decline since the bubble burst - in 2000, shares were worth more than 900p.

Sage is scheduled to post full-year figures on December 3. Shares put on 3 1 /4p to close at 140p.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 22, 2002
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