The Baltimore Sun

Q: Should I brace for the worst with my shares of Oracle Corp.?

- D.L., via the Internet

A: Like all technology firms, it is facing weakened economies in the United States and abroad that have a negative impact on the companies that typically buy its products.

Oracle shares (ORCL) are down 12 percent this year after last year's 32 percent increase and a 40 percent gain in 2006. The company has expressed caution about its near-term prospects.

Nonetheless, its dominant position in database software gives it a degree of pricing power most other technology companies can only dream about. At midyear it enacted 15 percent to 20 percent across-the-board price increases for its U.S. customers.

E-mail Andrew Leckey at yourmoney@tribune.com.

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