NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Hardware and software companies like Oracle (ORCL) and Cisco (CSCO) that rely predominantly on the strength of enterprise spending have had a difficult time convincing the Street that even near-term "moderate" growth is possible.
This makes Accenture's (ACN) performance, which included better-than-expected revenue growth in the IT consulting space, all the more impressive. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough. Fearing that this industry is still some way from returning to its once-robust levels, the Street wasted no time selling off the stock.
While I don't have a problem with the Street's half-glass-empty approach, I do believe there's been an overreaction to the company's guidance. Management has seen what's going on at rival companies. It's not as if the results from IBM (IBM) and Infosys (INFY) have been overwhelmingly positive.
It's true that the unsettling macro environment makes this a tough sector to model, but unlike Infosys and to an extent Cognizant (CTSH), which have hurt themselves with questionable decisions and weak margins, Accenture has always demonstrated a solid business plan. I believe investors who are looking for a rebound in the consulting space can still do well here.For the quarter, the company earned $1.01 in earnings per share, which was in line with Street estimates. Revenue, meanwhile, climbed 4% year over year to $7.1 billion, beating the expectations by 3%. Unlike the June quarter, Accenture posted a 2% year-over-year growth in consulting revenue, while outsourcing revenue advanced 6%. I'm not telling you this was a breathtaking quarter. Nor did management try to convince analysts that it was. But I don't believe anyone who has a good grasp on this industry should have expected a blowout. Given that virtually all of Accenture's key metrics such as margin and cash flow were at the high end of the company's targets, we have to agree the numbers were solid enough. Basically, management was able to reverse a brutal June quarter, during which the company (then) issued guidance that was roughly 7% below prior expectations. In actuality, when you consider the company just posted $8.4 billion in new bookings -- of which 54% will go towards outsourcing -- it's tough to see how the Street's negative reaction can be justified.
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