Oracle Corp. (ORCL - Get Report) shares opened at a record high Thursday after the business software group said its first quarter earnings would likely beat forecasts following a solid end to its 2019 fiscal year.
Oracle said first quarter earnings would likely come in between 80 and 82 cents per share, just head of Street forecasts, following a fourth quarter earnings report that included a stronger-than-expected 1% increase in sales to $11.14 billion an in-line GAAP earnings of $1.07 per share.
Oracle said a push further into cloud-linked sales, as well as new products such as its Autonomous Database and Fusion Applications, drove both fourth quarter sales and the better-than-expected first quarter outlook. Fourth quarter cloud revenues rose to $6.8 billion, while hardware sales fell 11% to $994 million.
"In Q4, we saw a surge in database license sales. We also saw very rapid growth in sales of those database options required to run our autonomous database," chairman Larry Ellision told investors on a conference call late Wednesday. "We continue to gain overall database market share as we migrate our database users to the cloud."
"Hot new products, like autonomous database, Fusion cloud application suite, NetSuite are selling really well and that's very accelerating. They're doing extremely well," Ellision said. "Quite frankly, we have some other product lines that we're quite naturally downsizing, like some of the acquired kind of hardware. So yeah, there are some of our businesses that are not, if you will, hot. But the good news is, the hot businesses are now bigger than the not so hot businesses, and that's determining our future."
Oracle shares were marked 7.53% higher Thursday to change hands at an all-time high of $56.67 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 26%.
"Oracle delivered a solid quarter, particularly when measured against a backdrop of investor concern about on-premise spending. However, the composition of the upside was driven by Infrastructure, which benefited from an easy comparison, while application growth decelerated," said BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman. "Given Oracle's inconsistent performance over the past few years, we remain on the sidelines with a Market Perform rating though we raise our target price to $59."