Stock in Orem-based software maker Novell Inc. fell 8 percent Wednesday after the company reported lower fourth-quarter earnings late Tuesday.

Some investment analysts termed Novell's earnings "dismal" and said they were concerned over the company's continued high expenses.Novell shares Wednesday fell $1.371/2 to close at $15.871/2 in trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Novell earned $61 million, or 17 cents a share, in the quarter ended Oct. 29, down from year-ago earnings of $88 million, or 24 cents a share. Earnings from both years don't include merger and restructuring expenses.

The latest quarter's earnings also were lower than Wall Street's consensus estimate of 21 cents a share, according to IBES Inc., which tracks analysts' forecasts.

Including the various expenses, Novell had net income of $20.4 million, or 6 cents a share, in the latest quarter, compared with $102.8 million, or 28 cents a share, a year ago.

Despite Novell's layoffs of 1,100 people in the fourth quarter, some analysts don't think the company can cut its costs.

"We expect no relief in sales and marketing expenditure levels due to new product launches and (the company's) broad network, desk-top applications and home entertainment product lines," said David Readerman, an analyst with Un-ter-berg Harris.

Largely because of the high expense levels, Alex. Brown & Sons analyst Mary A. McCaffrey pared her fiscal 1995 earnings view for the company to $1.00 from $1.15 a share. She said cutting back expenses would be difficult.