Today: Oracle (ORCL) fails to meet revenue expectations for the third consecutive quarter and shares descend in late trading, while Adobe (ADBE), Workday and Salesforce hit all-time highs on record-setting day for Wall Street.
The Lead: Oracle's revenues light again, but analysts and executives have hope
Oracle reported revenues that failed to meet analysts' forecast for the third consecutive quarter Wednesday, but more optimism appeared than in previous quarters as the Silicon Valley software giant seemed to be coming closer to matching performance with expectations.
The Redwood City company announced earnings of 47 cents a share on revenues of $8.37 billion in the first quarter of its fiscal 2014, year-over-year gains of 14 percent and 2 percent, respectively. The company's profits exceeded the average analyst forecast of 44 cents a share, but revenues were again lower than the average projection of $8.48 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.
Investors showed their disappointment in late trading, when Oracle shares dipped more than 3 percent after a gain of 1.8 percent to $33.87 in Wednesday's regular session. Executives and analysts were more positive, however, as Oracle's slight miss on sales showed the approach of an equilibrium.
"This gives investors something to hang their hat on going forward, that the Oracle growth story has hit a number of painful speed bumps but maybe execution and a slightly better spending environment are starting to pay off," FBR analyst Daniel Ives told Reuters.
In March, executives voiced anger at the company's sales force for "a lack of urgency" that led to disappointing sales figures, and a shortfall in sales of new software licenses concerned analysts in the company's most recent report, in June. In the most recent quarter, though, Oracle's new software licenses and cloud subscriptions grew 5 percent, after a disappointing 1 percent gain the previous quarter, and Oracle President Mark Hurd -- rumored to be in trouble for the company's hardware issues -- championed efforts in server sales.
"Engineered systems had its best ever Q1 in terms of unit sales, growing over 60 percent compared with the same quarter last year," Hurd said in Wednesday's news release.
Oracle's forecast was worrisome for analysts, however, as the company's projections for profits were below analysts', and Chief Financial Officer Safra Catz said in a conference call that revenue from software sales and cloud subscriptions could change by a broad range of negative 4 percent to positive 6 percent in the current quarter.
"That's a really fundamental issue the incumbents are having with this shift to software as a service," JMP Securities analyst Pat Walravens told Bloomberg News. "It's replacement revenue, it's not new revenue."
Catz hopes for better, but could not guarantee it.
"We just have to execute and we have to avoid any kind of economic deterioration or things like that," she said Wednesday, later adding, "Even though our pipelines are big we still have to close all those deals and I just can't assume that we will."
SV150 market report: Record highs for indexes, Adobe, Salesforce, Workday
Both the Dow Jones and Standard & Poor's 500 indexes shot to record highs Wednesday after the Federal Reserve announced that it would not begin pulling back on its monthly bond purchases, going against the expectations of many observers. Tech stocks were not left out of Wednesday's bounce, as the Nasdaq closed at its highest level since 2001 and the SV150 had a larger percentage gain than any of the major U.S. indexes at 1.6 percent.
Google (GOOG) gained 1.9 percent to again top the $900 mark, closing at $903.32 after announcing a new spinoff company called Calico, which will focus on health and aging issues and be led by Genentech's former CEO, Art Levinsohn. "These issues affect us all--from the decreased mobility and mental agility that comes with age, to life-threatening diseases that exact a terrible physical and emotional toll on individuals and families," Google CEO Larry Page said in a Google+ post announcing the new venture. The Mountain View search giant, which had not closed higher than $900 in more than a month, also announced in a Tuesday night blog post that it would begin offering YouTube fans an offline viewing option.
Silicon Valley's software segment was especially hot, as Adobe, Salesforce and Workday reached all-time highs. Adobe gained 9.2 percent to $52.58 after announcing in its Tuesday earnings report that the San Jose software company's conversion to a cloud offering had brought in more than 1 million subscribers. Salesforce, a pioneer in cloud software, followed its partnership with Oracle by signing a deal with Pleasanton's Workday that will integrate the two platforms; Salesforce gained 5.2 percent to a record closing high of $52.49 and Workday moved 3.8 percent higher to $81.10. San Bruno-based Responsys joined in the software party, gaining 9.5 percent to $16.31 after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock and gave it a $19 price target.
Silicon Valley's two most volatile large-cap stocks of the week both advanced after big dips on Monday and large gains on Tuesday. Apple (AAPL) moved 2.1 percent higher to $464.68 on the day it released the newest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, despite concerns that the Cupertino company will not be able to meet demand for the new iPhone 5S, which launches Friday after being announced last week. Facebook gained 0.4 percent to a new record closing high of $45.23 as founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg bounced around Washington D.C. promoting immigration reform. A court ruled that Facebook users are constitutionally protected when clicking the social network's "Like" button, but the Menlo Park company had to apologize after an advertiser used a dead girl's Facebook photo to promote its dating site.
Pandora gained 1.8 percent to $25.64 after the Oakland company won an important ruling that could help bring down its music royalty rates, and Nvidia gained 0.9 percent to $16 after announcing a new tablet offering that will cost $199. One of the few Silicon Valley companies to decline Wednesday was Electronic Arts (ERTS), which dipped 2.7 percent to $26.86 after announcing a young company insider, Andrew Wilson, as its new CEO on Tuesday afternoon.
Silicon Valley's newest entrant on Wall Street had just a small advance in its first day: After raking in $62.4 million in its initial public offering, South San Francisco biotechnology company Five Prime Therapeutics closed just 8 cents higher than its IPO price Wednesday, at $13.08. Five Prime is expected to be joined by two local software firms, FireEye and Rocket Fuel, later this week, and both have increased the possible price range for their offerings as the IPO market heats up ahead of Twitter's entry.
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 20.90, or 1.59 percent, to 1339.16
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 37.94, or 1.01 percent, to 3,783.64
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 147.21, or 0.95 percent, to 15,676.94
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 20.76, or 1.22 percent, to 1,725.52
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.