William Blair analysts chimed in on Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) and Nimble Storage Inc (NYSE:NMBL) after a Q4:15 earnings release and an earlier than expected product release announcement, respectively. Both analysts remain on the sidelines, expressing concern over weak guidance on Fitbit and questioning the potential performance of Nimble’s AF product series.
Analyst Ralph Schackart of William Blair recently weighed in on Fitbit after the company announced its 4Q:15 earlier this week, marked by disappointing guidance. The company posted revenues of $712 million, above consensus of $649 million, due in part to to strong U.S. holiday sales, as the company sold 8.26 million devices compared to consensus of 7.50 million. The company also posted as higher than expected gross margins, a 152% increase y/y increase in active users, and a 23% y/y ASP growth due to new products.
Despite earnings success in the fourth quarter, the analyst could not take focus away from disappointing Q1:2016 revenue and EBITDA guidance. Revenue guidance for Q1 is $40-$60 million lower than consensus, while adjusted EBITDA guidance is between $5-$16 million, way below consensus of $92 million. Management attributes the weak guidance to increased marketing expenses due to the international launch of Blaze and Alta. The company also noted that most of the reorders will occur only in the second quarter.
The analyst maintains his Market Perform rating on the company without a price target. He explains, “We maintain our Market Perform rating based on competitive product pricing concerns and uncertainty in out-year Street estimates due to the reliance on new product rollouts for growth. Continued negative investor sentiment will likely keep Fitbit shares range-bound in the near term, in our view.”
According to TipRanks’ statistics, out of the 13 analysts who have rated the company in the last 3 months, 7 gave a Buy rating while 6 remain neutral. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $21.60, marking a 77% increase from where shares last closed.
Nimble Storage Inc
Jason Ader of William Blair weighed in on Nimble after the company announced the release of its all-flash AF product series earlier than expected. The 4 products in the series are available for pre-order and to the general public in mid-March. Until recently, the company only offered hybrid adaptive flash products, a success with mid-market customers, although high-end customers preferred all-flash products. This in turn “inhibited Nimble’s move upmarket.” Although management recently discussed releasing all-flash products, many believed this type of product would only release in the second quarter.
The analyst is bullish on the early release, believing that the products will not only help the company move upmarket, but also decrease costs for its hybrid customers, as the product combines the company’s “all flash and hybrid arrays into a single cluster…essentially allowing hybrid arrays to be used for secondary storage.” The analyst notes that while recent challenges encompass more than a limited product offering, “plugging this gaping hole in its product portfolio will go a long way toward improving the company’s prospects…” The analyst also notes that this product will make Nimble a viable player among competition.
Ader reiterates a Market Perform rating on shares without a price target. He explains, “We will wait to see if the AF-series is able to fully right the ship (thus we remain on the sidelines), but its introduction removes a sizable hurdle for Nimble in what has become a ruthless storage landscape.” Jason Ader has a 48% success rate recommending stocks with an average return of 0.6% per recommendation.
According to TipRanks’ statistics, out of the 7 analysts who have rated the company in the last 3 months, 2 gave a Buy rating while 5 remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $11.08, marking a 70% upside from where shares last closed.