Zynga, Sands Disappoint - Crocs, Whole Foods, Visa And Akamai Please

 |  Includes: AKAM, CROX, FB, LVS, V, WFM, ZNGA
by: Bill Maurer

After the bell on Wednesday, a number of large names posted earnings. We had the usual hits and misses, and one high profile collapse. Here's a recap of what everyone said.

Zynga (ZNGA): Perhaps the biggest story of the night will be the online social gaming company plunging after a terrible report.

For the fiscal second quarter, Zynga posted revenues of $332.5 million, up 19% over the prior year period. However, analysts were looking for much better growth and revenues of $344 million. Non-GAAP earnings per share came in at a penny, five cents below the 6 cents expected by analysts. On a GAAP basis, the company lost 3 cents per share.

However, Zynga lowered its forecast for the year, based on the delayed launch of new games, lowered expectations from Draw Something, which Zynga acquired a few months ago, and a more challenging environment on the Facebook (FB) platform.

For the full year, Zynga expects bookings (revenues) in the range of $1.15 billion to $1.225 billion. Analysts were expecting $1.44 billion. Zynga expects non-GAAP earnings per share to be in a range of $0.04 to $0.09, well below the $0.27 expected.

In after hours, Zynga shares plunged almost 40%, struggling to hold onto the $3 level (it closed above $5). Facebook shares also took a hit, down 6% on the news.

This is certainly not the news investors were looking for. Zynga shares were above $14 in March, so they have now lost nearly 80% of their value. When Zynga acquired OMGPOP, the maker of Draw Something, many questioned the price Zynga paid. Well, those non-believers are starting to be proved right. That seems to have been a top in the stock. Investors right now are not willing to pay for a social media name that can't grow fast or produce profits. Zynga's 2012 forecast implies little to no revenue growth, and a decline in earnings. That's not what investors are looking for, and shares are being punished because of it.

Crocs (CROX): The footwear maker reported a very mixed quarter. For the fiscal second quarter, Crocs had revenues of $330.9 million, about $9 million below what the street was expecting. However, the company beat nicely on the bottom line, reporting $0.68, 5 cents ahead of expectations. The company was able to control costs more than analysts were expecting.

The quarterly and full year outlook echoed similar characteristics. For the third quarter, the company guided to $300 million in revenues, well below the $319 million plus analysts are expecting. However, the company stated earnings per share would be in a range of $0.42 to $0.44, compared with $0.42 expectations. For the full-year, the company expects earnings per share of $1.50 to $1.54, a bit above the $1.47 the street was expecting. However, when you include the 5 cent beat from the second quarter, the forecast was in-line with expectations.

Shares, which closed at $13.89, were seen as high as $15 in the extended hours, but at last update were up about 4%. Crocs shares had closed Wednesday just 9 cents off the 52-week low. Investors will be looking to this report as a possible bottom for the stock. In the end, the revenue numbers and guidance are disappointing, but the company is proving that it can make money. For now, the company will get a pass, as long as those profits continue.

Visa (V): The credit card maker posted a very strong quarter and announced a new share buyback program.

For the fiscal third quarter, Visa posted revenues of $2.565 billion, beating analyst expectations of $2.52 billion. Visa posted a GAAP loss of $1.8 billion, primarily due to the settlement agreement in the Multi-District Litigation case. Excluding the lawsuit, the adjusted profit was $1.1 billion, or $1.56 per share, beating expectations by 11 cents. The 11 cent beat was the largest over the past five quarters.

Visa affirmed its full year outlook for revenue growth in the low teens (analysts are looking for 11.7% growth currently) and earnings per share growth in the low twenties (analysts are currently expecting 21.4%).

But the biggest news might have been the announcement of a new $1 billion share repurchase plan, which will be in place through July 2013.

In after-hours trading, Visa was up about 1%. Over the past year, shares are up 35%, and stand just about $7 off their 52-week high. Today's report was decent, but I would wait for a pull back in the stock before jumping in. The $115 to $120 range has been a good support level in recent weeks, so I would aim to enter there.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS): The casino operator posted a weaker than expected quarter. Sheldon G. Adelson, CEO, put it best:

"Our results were impacted by lower hold on table games play compared to last year's second quarter, higher provisions for accounts receivable at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and elevated legal expenses."

For the second quarter, the company posted revenues of $2.58 billion, well below the $2.78 billion Wall Street was looking for. Earnings per share of $0.44 were also well below the $0.60 expected.

Sands is the largest casino name in terms of market cap, and investors do look at it for signs of global economic health. While Macao profits were up nearly 10%, the company showed signs of weakness in both Las Vegas and Asia. That implies that China may be slowing down, just as expected, and US economic activity is sluggish as well.

In after hours, shares were down by 7%. Sands' shares were trading at new 52-week lows in the extended hours period, and have fallen from $62 to $35 since April.

Sands has been an analyst favorite, with an average "buy" rating and a $57.50 average price target. I think that you will see some analysts take down their price targets over the next couple of weeks. Analysts were expecting 24% revenue and 30% earnings growth this year, but with today's results, I think you have to take those numbers down to about 15-20% and 20-25% respectively.

Akamai (AKAM): The technology company soared in after-hours after a good quarter.

For the fiscal second quarter, Akamai reported revenues of $331 million, beating analyst expectations of $325.7 million. Adjusted earnings per share of $0.43 were handily ahead of the $0.37 expected. CEO Paul Sagan stated the following.

"Akamai's very strong second quarter results were driven on the top line by increased adoption of our cloud infrastructure solutions as well as continued growth of content delivery solutions,"..."Our bottom line performance was the result of significant benefits we have begun to realize from improvements we are making to scale our network operations."

The company also announced that under its new buyback plan expanded in May, the company repurchased 2 million shares at an average price of $30.78.

In my opinion, analysts were just too bearish on the name. Despite expecting a 17.6% rise in revenues, analysts were just forecasting a 6% rise in earnings per share. Considering that Akamai is buying back plenty of stock, analysts should have seen how the share count was helping the EPS number. Over the past year, Akamai's diluted share count has dropped from 190.2 million to 181.8 million. That is going to help your earnings per share, and it certainly did. With Akamai continuing to buy back stock, future earnings per share should benefit as well.

In after-hours trading, shares were up 16%.

Whole Foods Market (WFM): The natural and organic supermarket company saw shares jumping after a strong report.

For the fiscal third quarter, the company reported revenues of $2.73 billion, in-line with expectations. Earnings per share of $0.63 beat by two cents. The company opened a record nine stores in the quarter. The company has beaten analyst estimates over the past five quarters, so they obviously are doing something right.

But investors focused on the strong guidance given. The company raised its earnings per share forecast to a range of $2.51 to $2.52, ahead of the $2.47 analysts were expecting. The company's full year revenue forecast for 15.6% to 15.8% growth was in-line to ahead of the 15.6% expected. Also, the company's fiscal Q4 revenue guidance for 22.9% to 23.9% growth was ahead of the 23% growth expected.

In after-hours trading, shares were up nearly 11%. Whole Foods has continue to prove that consumers are looking for natural and organic food products, despite the challenging economic picture. The company continues to take market share away from traditional food stores, which is why the stock is now trading just $3 from its 52-week high. I would look for multiple analyst upgrades over the next couple of weeks, which could push this stock over the $100 level. This company is firing on all cylinders right now.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.