Oracle Shares Dive as Key Growth Area Disappoints

Updated from 4:57 p.m. ET with conference call and current after-hours trading information.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Oracle ( ORCL) shares were retreating in after-hours trading even after the software giant reported earnings that met fiscal fourth-quarter earnings expectations, a dividend hike, and an extension to its share buyback program.

Shares were plunging more than 8% to $30.50 in extended hours trading as investors became fixated on the company's disappointing and flat revenue growth, as its cloud ambitions were met with sluggish-looking results. Cloud is supposed have been a key area of future growth for Oracle as the company tries to manage a transition to a cloud architecture from its traditional client-server architecture.

Although company president Mark Hurd reported that Oracle added more than 500 new Software as a Service customers in the fourth quarter, both GAAP and non-GAAP new software licenses and cloud software subscriptions revenues rose a mere 1% to $4 billion. Even without the impact of a stronger U.S. dollar during the quarter, overall new software licenses and cloud software subscription revenues would have been up just 2%.

The company is predicting adjusted earnings ranging between 56 and 59 cents a share versus the consensus estimate of 58 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters. Total revenue growth is expected to range from 3% to 6%. At current rates, currencies are expected to hurt overall growth rates by about 1%. Growth for new software license and cloud subscription revenue is expected to range from flat to 8%, while hardware product revenue growth is expected to range from minus 6% to 2%.

Oracle reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 87 cents a share, up 5% from a year ago. Revenue was unchanged at $11 billion. Analysts on average were expecting sales of $11.12 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Oracle also announced Thursday that it plans to repurchase up to an additional $12 billion of common stock under its existing share repurchase program in future quarters. Also, Oracle said it has applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange under its current symbol "ORCL" on July 15, switching its listing from NASDAQ.

On a brighter note, revenue from software license updates and product support were stronger than expected, rising 8% to $4.4 billion vs. the average Wall Street estimate of about $4.22 billion. The category made up 40% of the company's total revenues during the quarter.

Hardware systems products revenue came in at $849 million, which was also better than expected especially considering the disappointments from this business in previous quarters. Analysts had forecast revenues of $789 million for this category. It brought in 8% of total revenues.

Operating margins were in line at about 51%, compared with the street estimate of 51.5%.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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