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Understanding Oracle's Growth Position

Stocks in this article: ORCL CRM IBM MSFT SAP FFIV EMC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There is no shortage of critics when it comes to assessing the market position of database giant Oracle (ORCL).

With rivals such as (CMR) stealing the hearts of growth investors, it seems the value that Oracle still presents today is suddenly being ignored. The company is now considered irrelevant.

But Oracle's fundamentals as well as its extensive reach within the market tells a different story. With its $32 billion in cash and innovative expertise, the company continues to prove that it has no plans to concede its business to anyone. Investors would be wise to take notice.

A Balanced First-Quarter Start

In its most recent quarter, $8.2 billion in revenue was not enough to excite investors. But it did represent a modest 3% annual growth. Net income arrived at $2 billion, or $0.41 per share, representing a profit increase of 11% year-over-year. On a non-GAAP basis, the company produced $3.6 billion in operating income, or 6% higher from the year ago quarter. This was helped by the company's 2% improvement in operating margin, which arrived at 44%.

The company continues to see increasing demand for its products and services, particularly in the cloud, which produced $222 million in revenue. Likewise, software licenses and cloud subscription revenue grew 11% to $1.6 billion.

As a sign of how well the company's model is working, Oracle continues to generate tons of cash, while consistently managing its expenses.

Oracle also announced record levels of free cash flow -- $13.4 billion over the past four quarters. Similarly, during that span, operating cash flow increased to $14 billion, of which, $5.7 billion was generated in the just completed quarter. As a sign of its commitment to returning value to shareholders, Oracle announced it purchased over 100 million shares of its stock during the quarter.

This brought its stock repurchase total to 300 million shares, or $8.2 billion worth over the past 12 months. In terms of guidance for the coming quarter, Oracle expects to earn between 59 cents to 63 cents per share on a non-GAAP basis, exceeding last year's mark of 54 cents per share.

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