Oracle Misses on Revenue and Earnings
Software and cloud computing giant, Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL – $42.51) said its profit for the fiscal fourth quarter ended May 31 was $3.65 billion, down from $3.81 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. Excluding certain expenses, earnings per share in the latest period settled at $0.92 vs. $0.87 a year ago on a lower share count. Analysts had expected earnings of $0.95 a share on an adjusted basis. The company, meanwhile, in March had forecast adjusted earnings of $0.92 to $0.99/share, so a disappointment all the way around as shares fell about 8% in afterhours trading. Revenue rose 3.4% to $11.32 billion, while analysts on average expected revenue to increase about 5% to $11.48 billion. Sales of new software licenses, a closely watched revenue metric, was flat from a year earlier and hardware product sales and support declined about 2.5% from a year ago. While new licenses were below expectations, Oracle’s cloud computing business revenues were up 23% to $327 million and cloud infrastructure revenues were up 13% to $128 million. Now that fiscal 2014 is over, I am looking ahead to next year and believe earnings growth can go higher from here by about 8% from 2014’s total of $2.88 to around $3.11 per share, which is below most estimates. With this conservative figure, the shares are valued around 14 times fiscal 2015 earnings, which in my opinion, is reasonable for ORCL in the midst of a transition from a server-based software company to cloud-based software and services. Also, the growing dividend of $0.48 per share yields investors 1.4%, and I would not rule out a hike later in the year. The shares, up about 24% in the past 52 weeks, are still worth holding in a well-diversified conservative account.