Defense Contract Speculation Shouldn’t Cloud Oracle’s True Value

Enterprise software company Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) is vying for cloud-computing supremacy, but its competition is fierce. Nevertheless, ORCL stock continues to climb to fresh highs.

The Oracle (ORCL) sign hangs on an Oracle office in Deerfield, Illinois.

Source: Jonathan Weiss /

Does this make ORCL stock unappealing for value-focused owners? After all, true contrarians are supposed to buy at low prices, not after bull runs.

There’s no denying that ORCL stock has run quickly and far during the past year. Surprisingly, though, the stock isn’t as expensive as it might seem at first glance.

At the same time, there’s a huge government contract that’s up for grabs, and that has the financial community talking. It’s a situation that must be addressed, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all for Oracle.

A Closer Look at ORCL Stock

Over the past 12 months, ORCL stock has powered its way up from $57 to $87, representing a gain of more than 50%.

Many stocks have provided robust returns throughout the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. Still, Oracle’s investors should be grateful for its outstanding share-price performance.

Early July was particularly potent, as ORCL stock jumped from $80 to nearly $88 in the first few trading sessions of the month.

Even with that advance, however, Oracle’s trailing 12-month price-earnings ratio is just 19.3. That is quite reasonable and should help to quell value investors’ concerns about the shares.

Meanwhile, income-focused investors should appreciate ORCL stock’s forward annual dividend yield of 1.56%. It’s the icing on the cake for a stock with a generally favorable risk-reward profile.

Pent-up Pentagon Hopes

The explosive recent price action of Oracle’s shares might, at least in part, be attributable to traders hoping that the company will win a potentially lucrative government contract.

It was a blow to Oracle when, in 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded a cloud-computing contract to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

This was known as the JEDI (short for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) contract. At one point, the Department of Defense had valued this contract at up to $10 billion.

That was great news for Microsoft’s stakeholders – or so it seemed. There’s an old saying that applies here: easy come, easy go.

Thus, the Pentagon recently canceled the JEDI contract “due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances.”

In its place, there’s a “return of the JEDI” or, perhaps more accurately, a JEDI 2.0 in the works.

It’s called Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability, and the Defense Department apparently “intends to seek proposals from a limited number of sources,” including Microsoft.

Evidently, this development was cheered by the owners of ORCL stock, as it provided a ray of hope that Oracle might be chosen for the new contract.

That’s all fine and good, but it’s not the only reason to invest in Oracle.

Absolutely Outstanding

For the speculators and gamblers out there, it’s a good time to get back to basics.

Oracle might or might not win that new contract. What’s known for certain, though, is that the company is in a terrific financial position.

I’ll quit jawboning for a moment and let Oracle CEO Safra Catz get a word in edgewise:

“Our Q4 performance was absolutely outstanding with total revenue beating guidance by nearly $200 million, and non-GAAP earnings per share beating guidance by $0.24… The accelerating growth rates of both our applications and infrastructure cloud businesses this year drove earnings per share growth up to 21% in FY21.”

Catz further observed that Oracle’s fourth-quarter revenues from its Gen2 Cloud Infrastructure business (including its Autonomous Database) had more than doubled.

Moreover, pulling back and looking at the big picture, Oracle’s fiscal 2021 represented the fourth consecutive year of double-digit earnings-per-share growth for the company.

That’s what I would consider a compelling reason to invest in its shares. After that performance, one does not need to speculate to recommend ORCL stock.

The Bottom Line

ORCL stock combines growth and value, plus a decent dividend yield. What more could you ask for?

I suppose you could ask for a buzz-worthy story that gamblers can hang their hats on.

You asked for it, and you got it, in the form of speculation about the new JEDI contract. Just don’t count on that becoming Oracle’s next catalyst : the company will do just fine, with or without the government’s help.

On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

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