SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Adobe Systems Inc., the leader in desktop publishing software, met Wall Street's per-share earnings expectations for the third quarter, but revenue fell short and the company lowered its revenue targets for the fourth quarter.

Adobe shares fell nearly 18 percent on the news.

For the three months ending Aug. 31, Adobe said Wednesday it earned $40.3 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with $78.3 million, or 31 cents a share, the same time a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, the company said it earned $96.4 million, or 28 cents per share _ the level analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had expected.

Adobe reported revenue for the three months was $292.1 million, down 11 percent from $328.9 million a year ago. Thomson Financial/First Call analysts had expected revenue of $319.1 million in the third quarter.

The San Jose-based company, which last week delayed its report because of the terrorist attacks, cited weakness in Japan as a primary reason for the revenue shortfall.

Assuming continued weakness in Japan and other major markets, the company lowered its fourth-quarter revenue target to between $310 million and $320 million.

Adobe officials said they do not anticipate that disruptions from the terrorist attacks would impose a significant financial impact to current quarter results.

For the nine months ended Aug. 31, Adobe earned $171.4 million, or 68 cents per share, on revenue of $965 million. That compares with earnings of $208.6 million, or 82 cents per share, on revenue of $911.2 million.

In trading Wednesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market, shares of Adobe fell $4 to close at $26.10.

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