ERP software house JD Edwards & Co said Thursday that preliminary results for the first quarter will be lower than expected. For the quarter, the Denver-based company expects to report revenues in the range of $218m to $223m, compared to $178.3m in the year- ago period. Earnings per share should come in at between $0.02 and $0.04, when analysts surveyed by First Call were expecting $0.09. JDE insists that services revenue growth was strong and should be in the range of $150m to $153m. But license fee revenue was weaker than expected, at $68m to $70m. The company blames the trouble on the continued downturn in global economic conditions, an unanticipated slowing in software purchases as companies increasingly focus on ensuring Year 2000 readiness, and intensified competitive pressure. Certain internal operational changes added to the problem, JDE says. The news is particularly troubling after chief financial officer Rick Allen said in December that he expected the company to grow faster than its rivals this year with software license growth in the mid-50% range. Final results for the quarter will be released on February 23, 1999.