Shares of Oracle (ORCL) dropped at the open today, based on the premise that their results for their fiscal third quarter just weren't good enough. As far as I can tell, they slightly beat the $.18 a share consensus, but that wasn't enough.
According to Reuters, the company expects Q4 fiscal earnings to be between $.26 and $.28 a share and revenue to rise between 10% and 14% from the year earlier quarter.
The division of opinion on Oracle typically turns on whether investors think that the company made wise use of its capital in buying PeopleSoft, Siebel, and some smaller recent acquisitions. The jury may be out on this for some time, but, in general, the financial performance of the company, and the breadth of its products and services reminds me a great deal of Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC), two other big techs with stock prices stuck in the mud.
The history of business is littered with large companies like GM (NYSE:GM) that squandered the advantages of their size. But, things don't look like they are headed that direction at Oracle.
Oracle did well in Europe, home of its nemesis, SAP. New license revenue in Europe grew 100% year-over-year. It's a good sign that you do that well in your competitor's backyard.
Sales of database software somewhat lagged what the Street wanted to see, but the strength in Europe and other lines of business still added up to a 42% increase in profits for the quarter.
A sign of big companies falling apart is when they are stop hitting on most cylinders. The opposite seems to be happening at Oracle.
Douglas A. McIntyre is the former Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Financial World Magazine. He was also president of Switchboard.com and chief executive of On2 Technologies, Inc. and FutureSource LLC.