Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) isn’t a cutting-edge tech stock. It’s a legacy play that’s trying to reinvent itself as a cloud provider, inline with the market’s overall shift. That shift hasn’t been smooth. The company has beat Wall Street’s earnings expectations in each of the last four quarters. But that hasn’t been enough for investors. Over the last 12 months, ORCL stock has shed 4% of its value — despite a significant rebound in recent weeks.
Here are three things to know about Oracle stock now.
ORCL Stock’s Disappointing Earnings
The main reason Oracle stock has enjoyed a roller coaster of a year is because of earnings. Shares suffered a dramatic drop in mid-March after the company posted disappointing cloud sales in its earnings report and a lower-than-expected top line overall. Then, in late June, the stock sank again. Once again, the company’s actual earnings beat Wall Street’s consensus. But investors were unimpressed by the company’s guidance.
The company predicted earnings between 67 and 69 cents per share for the current fiscal year. The upper end of that range was 3 cents below the expectation.
‘Pulling the Wool Over Your Eyes’
Investors also appeared unhappy with a reporting decision by Oracle. Last quarter, it stopped breaking out its cloud business in its numbers. That’s a concerning decision when the company is — you know — undergoing a transition to focus on the cloud.
Analyst Jason Adler summarized the decision nicely (per MarketWatch): “Combining cloud services with on-premises support seems to us like an extreme move by Oracle, and we are left feeling like it is an attempt to pull the proverbial wool over investors’ eyes — particularly related to cloud sales.”
Sinking Outlook for ORCL Stock
Analysts have been revising their earnings estimates for Oracle downward in recent weeks in response to its updated forecast. The current quarter is slated for profits of 69 cents per share, good for year-over-year growth of 11%. Over the next five years, that figure is supposed to sink to 8% per year—substantial when compared to its average in the last half-decade, which didn’t even hit 2%. The earnings growth is far from organic, though, with sales expected to expand just 2% this year and 4% the year after.
Despite the stock’s unimpressive recent performance and downward revisions for earnings, it’s still trading for a price/earnings to growth ratio over 1.7. And its dividend is decent, with a forward yield of 1.65%, but still not anything to write home about — especially when the growth that would fuel said dividend isn’t organic. For the sour cherry on top, the cloud space is extremely competitive, with legacy and startup providers — including Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) — all vying for a piece of the pie.
If you’re going to bet on the cloud, Oracle isn’t the best play out there.
As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.