Traders Bet On Workday Saying Oracle’s Miss Due To Cloud Competition

Technology investors are hoping Oracle’s earnings don’t predict the sector’s future. The enterprise software-as-a-service giant reported quarterly earnings and sales Tuesday evening that fell short of Wall Street consensus estimates.

Instead of fleeing the sector, traders on said they would pick up shares of young Oracle competitor Workday, $WDAY, on the idea that Oracle’s miss resulted from new, agile competitors taking bites out of its business.

nice breakout gap fill in $WDAY. Off the $ORCL miss.. I'm buying calls tomorrow

— AJ.K (@OptionTraderArt) Mar. 18 at 05:45 PM

$WDAY is stealing from $ORCL ..,. $120 soon

— Keith (@DerKomizar) Mar. 18 at 05:01 PM

Oracle fell nearly 4% in after-hours trading, after rising more than 1.6% in the hours before the release. Though it gained some of that back in the pre-market Wednesday. Workday, an enterprise software provider that, like Oracle, provides financial, capital and analytics management tools, saw shares rise leading up to Oracle’s earnings.

Workday, which has an $18.26 Billion market cap compared to Oracle’s $174.68 Billion cap, hosts tools on remote servers in the cloud. Oracle is aggressively growing its cloud business, though the vast majority of its billions still come from software located on clients’ business servers.

$WDAY should get a nice bid today – sorry $ORCL

— Option Millionaires (@OMillionaires) Mar. 19 at 08:19 AM

Traders argued Oracle shares could trade even lower than the 4% drop.

$ORCL Eyes @ 36.60 / 36.05

— Abhishek (@TrendAdvisory) Mar. 18 at 05:43 PM

Oracle, $ORCL, reported $0.68 EPS for its fiscal third quarter, missing consensus estimates by two cents. It also disappointed on sales. Revenues of $9.30 Billion fell about $60 Million short of Wall Street’s predictions, according to estimates on The Analyst Ratings Network.

Oracle said that a stronger dollar cut into profits. Currency-adjusted EPS, excluding items such as stock-based compensation, would have been $0.71, beating consensus estimates. On the conference call, Oracle management said exchange rates were a 1% headwind to new software licenses and a 2% headwind to hardware sales and total revenues.

Oracle’s guidance helped stem the losses. The company projects total sales in the current quarter will rise between 3% and 7%. The midpoint of that range is roughly in line with consensus estimates of 4.9% growth. Oracle management anticipates EPS, excluding some items, to come in between $0.92 and $0.99. The midpoint of that range is $0.955. Analysts expected $0.96 EPS, according to statistics on Yahoo Finance.

On the call, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison tried to assure investors that the earnings miss didn’t indicate slowing growth. “Our engineered systems business is growing rapidly for the same fundamental reasons that our cloud applications business is growing rapidly,” he said, according to a transcript on SeekingAlpha. “In both cases customers want to integrate the hardware and software and make it work together, so they don’t have to.”

Mark Hurd, Oracle President and former HP CEO, said that Oracle had its best quarter for cloud-based business software. In constant currently, cloud software subscriptions revenues grew 25%.

Citing the success of Oracle’s cloud business, Macquarie analysts raised $ORCL’s price target $2 Wednesday morning to $38.

Not everyone sees the cloud growth as a positive. Unlike software licenses where companies pay the total cost of the software upfront, cloud software is paid for over the life of the subscription. Oracle says this means more money overall because it provides additional services, though it is less money initially. Analysts say Oracle, as a result, must grow its cloud business faster to make up for the money it is losing from customers who would have paid for traditional software licenses but now want to run those same programs remotely from the cloud. But it can’t do that as easily because of competition from younger, cheaper cloud companies. Also much of Oracle’s growth in the space came from new acquisitions.

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