Oracle largely erases losses; sell-side defends

Though Venezuelan forex issues and the ongoing shift to cloud subscriptions from up-front licenses pressured Oracle's (ORCL -0.4%) FQ3 results, the software giant's quarter was "solid across-the-board," thinks Stifel's Brad Reback (Buy), upping his PT to $43 from $40.

Reback notes Oracle's cloud bookings rose 60% Y/Y (exceeding rev. growth of 24%), and that engineered systems now account for nearly a third of hardware product sales. He also thinks the company has addressed many of its recent sales execution issues.

"Not great, but getting better" is how Nomura's Rick Sherlund (Buy) refers to the quarter. He's slightly raising his estimates, and sees Oracle posting 4% revenue growth and 8%-10% EPS growth in FY15 (ends May '15).

Morgan Stanley's Keith Weiss (Equal-Weight) is less enthusiastic, arguing Oracle's 1% Y/Y software billings growth "against the easiest comps of the year brings into question the achievability of [FQ4] targets near-term, and competitive positioning longer-term." He adds Oracle needs to "consistently expand margins" to deliver sustainable 10% EPS growth.

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