Oracle Finally Beats Estimates
Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) shareholders finally received some good news after a year of missing the mark. The computer hardware and software company released its earnings report for the second quarter of fiscal year 2015 on December 17th.
The report showed that adjusted profits and revenue beat expectations, which many investors see as a step in the right direction. Oracle has had a tumultuous year, from co-founder Larry Ellison stepping down from CEO to Chairman in addition to three consecutive quarters of sub-par reports.
Highlights of the report include a 3% increase in total revenue to $9.6 billion, beating the analyst consensus of $9.51 billion. Oracle reported earnings per share of $0.69 on a non-GAAP basis—a 1% year-over-year increase. However, Oracle points out that the earnings per share figure would have seen a larger increase if not for “the impact of the US dollar strengthening compared to foreign currencies.”
Part of Oracle’s revenue boost is due to increase revenue from their models of cloud computing software, which increased an overwhelming 45% to total $516 million. Safra Catz, Oracle CEO, commented that Oracle will continue to improve their cloud services, noting “We continue to deliver industry-leading operating margins and cash flow even after adding the thousands of specialized sales people and engineers necessary to accelerate the growth of our new cloud businesses.”
Some analysts are optimistic in light of the new report. Daniel Ives, analyst of FBR Capital, reiterated a Buy rating on Oracle with a price target of $48 on December 18th. Ives notes, “This was a nice step in the right direction for Oracle, and was a stark contrast to the softness seen over the last few quarters.” He added that although cloud services saw a large increase, Oracle’s “bread and butter database business remains under pressure.” Ives has a 55% overall success rate recommending stocks with an average return of +6.3% per recommendation.
Separately on December 18th, analyst Steve Koenig of Wedbush maintained a Neutral rating on Oracle and raised his price target from $38 to $42. Koenig noted that Oracle’s “sales capacity additions are becoming more productive.” He stressed the positive aspects of Oracle, such that “(1) valuation looks attractive… (2) Plenty of institutional money looking for large-cap outperformance following an impressive run for MSFT shares; and (3) ORCL’s cloud revenues are accelerating.” However, the analyst is still wary because “a single quarter of good execution doesn’t give us confidence that ORCL will perform more consistently, and consensus revenue and EPS expectations over the next 12 to 24 months remain too aggressive, in our view.” Koenig has a 48% overall success rate recommending stocks with a +8.2% average return per recommendation.
The top analyst consensus for ORCL is Moderate Buy.