Hewitt Associates (NYSE: HEW) may want to lie on a couch for its own "consultation" after today. The company posted decent fiscal first-quarter results, but the stock was clobbered after management said 2003 revenue growth would likely be at the low end of previous guidance. The stock went batty and hit a wall, despite reassurances that core earnings growth would still exceed 20%.

Hewitt had a banner 2002. It was able to pull off a successful initial public offering (IPO), which, these days, is more unusual than a white rhinoceros. The human resources consulting and outsourcing firm was private for decades before selling stock. It raised $200 million last June in an IPO priced at $19. Even more impressive, the stock bucked a down market and rose well above $30 -- before falling with a thud this morning. Despite today, the IPO is successful eight months after its debut.

First-quarter net income totaled $15 million, or $0.15 per share, compared to $10 million, or $0.11 per share, in pro forma results the same quarter of the year before. Assuming the company incorporated at the start of the last fiscal year, "core" earnings (as it calls them) were $30 million, or $0.30 per share, compared to $23 million and $0.31 per share the year prior. Revenue climbed 19% to $480 million.

This year, revenue is now expected to grow at the low end of prior 15% to 18% guidance. Hewitt is expected to earn $1.20 per share in core earnings for the year ended September. The $2.6 billion company trades at 20.8 times the estimate.