Symantec forecast revenue that fell short of some analysts' estimates as declines in the personal-computer market and the emergence of advanced hacking threats hurt demand for traditional antivirus software.

Sales in the fiscal fourth quarter will be $1.62 billion to $1.66 billion, the Mountain View-based company said Wednesday in a statement. Analysts had projected sales of $1.64 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Bennett, who took over the company in July 2012, cut about 1,000 jobs last year, reorganized the sales division to focus on new business and eliminated old products as a record slump for PCs crimped sales of antivirus products. Bennett is pushing the company into new technologies to fight advanced threats such as international spying and the recent data breaches at Target Corp. and Neiman Marcus Group Ltd.

"The company has major growth challenges on the horizon," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets in New York who has the equivalent of a hold rating on the stock. "While the company is doing a good job of cutting costs, growth remains elusive."

Symantec shares fell as much as 1.8 percent to $23.72 in extended trading after the announcement. The stock rose 3.7 percent to $24.15 at the close in New York and has gained 10 percent in the past year, trailing the 18 percent advance for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

In the fiscal third quarter net income rose 31 percent to $283 million, or 40 cents a share, from $216 million, or 31 cents a year earlier, Symantec said. Sales fell 4.8 percent to $1.71 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.65 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


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Replacing Salem

Bennett, who became CEO after Enrique Salem was ousted, is contending with increased competition from upstarts such as FireEye and Palo Alto Networks, whose technology is designed to deal with more modern attacks.

The market for security software and equipment will increase 9.1 percent this year to $71.7 billion, according to researcher Gartner Inc. Symantec's revenue is expected to drop 4 percent this fiscal year, according to analysts' average estimate, after rising 3 percent in 2013.

As antivirus demand wanes, Symantec has been unable to make up for the declines in the data-storage market. Symantec acquired its way into that business with the $10.2 billion purchase of Veritas Software Corp. in 2005. The company is discontinuing a data-backup service called Backup Exec.cloud because of slack demand, Bloomberg News reported in November.

Symantec's struggles have led to a management overhaul. Last month the company said it was replacing Steve Trilling as chief technology officer with Microsoft veteran Amit Mital. In November, the company announced the departure of Francis deSouza, president of products and services, two months after Chief Financial Officer James Beer left for the same job at McKesson.