UPDATE 2-Accenture beats revenue estimates on digital push, shares rise

(Adds comments from the earnings call; Updates shares)

June 25 (Reuters) - IT consulting firm Accenture Plc beat analysts’ estimates for third-quarter revenue and profit on Thursday and forecast strong bookings for the current quarter, sending its shares up about 8%.

The company has shifted its focus to offering digital and cloud services, which include managing clients’ social media marketing strategies and helping them move to cloud, in a bid to boost margins.

New bookings grew 4% to $11 billion in the third quarter ended May 31, with digital, cloud and security-related services accounting for about 70% of them, Chief Financial Officer Kathleen McClure said in an earnings call with analysts.

Revenue slipped nearly 1% to $10.99 billion but managed to edge past analysts’ average estimates of $10.87 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.90 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.85 per share.

The online consulting and service provider, however, narrowed its fiscal 2020 revenue growth forecast to between 3.5% and 4.5% amid the coronavirus-fueled economic slump. The prior forecast was for a growth of 3% to 6%.

Accenture, which competes with Cognizant and major Indian IT companies such as Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro, expects foreign exchange rates to negatively impact its full-year results by 1.5% compared to fiscal year 2019.

Shares of the company were up at $217.19 in morning trade on Thursday. (Reporting by Neha Malara; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)