NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Oracle (ORCL) shares fell sharply Thursday, a day after the company announced fourth-quarter earnings missed analysts' expectations because of a strong U.S. dollar and sales decline.

The company earned an adjusted 78 cents per share, generating $10.7 billion, down 5% year-over-year or up 3% on a constant currency basis. Analysts were expecting 87 cents per share on $10.92 billion in revenue, according to a survey from Thomson Reuters.

Software and cloud revenue were also down for the company, dropping 6%, or up 2% on a constant currency basis, at $8.4 billion. Sales of new software licenses were down 17% to $3.1 billion year-over-year, disappointing many analysts.

Oracle CEO Safra Catz said she remains optimistic about the company's potential for future growth, saying in a statement "our rapidly increasing cloud sales to quickly translate into significantly more revenue and profits."

Shares, at $41.42, are currently down 7.8% for the day and 8% for the year to date.

For the fiscal first quarter, Oracle forecast earnings between 56 and 59 cents a share, with revenue growing between 5% and 8% year-over-year, excluding changes in foreign currency. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect the company to earn an adjusted 61 cents a share.

Following the earnings release, reactions from analysts on Wall Street were mixed, with many looking to Oracle for long-term growth as it adjusts its business to the cloud model. Here's what some of them had to say:

JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens (Market Perform, No PT)

"Oracle is generating impressive billings growth in the cloud, but since the transition is pressuring license and EPS, we think investors would appreciate two things to improve transparency: 1) guidance on both a constant currency and an as-reported basis; and 2) a multi-year roadmap as to how the transition to the cloud will affect the financial statements, as Adobe (ADBE) did in December 2013 and as SAP (SAP) did in January 2015."

Deutsche Bank analyst Karl Keirstead (Hold, $44 PT)

"In our view the two key questions from Oracle's 4QF15 print are 1) whether the mix shift from on-premise license revs to cloud-hosted subscription revs can fully explain the 10% c/c decline in new license sales and the 430bps decline in non-GAAP OM and 2) when the pressure on margins and EPS will stabilize such that Street sentiment will improve. In our judgment, lingering uncertainty is likely to weigh on Oracle shares and we reaffirm our hold rating."

Pacific Crest Securities Brendan Barnicle (Overweight, $48 PT)

"We are lowering our FQ1 revenue estimate to $8.50 billion from $8.68 billion and lowering our FQ1 EPS estimate to $0.52 from $0.61. We are also lowering our F2016 EPS estimate to $2.80 from $2.99 and our F2017 EPS estimate to $3.12 from $3.23. Despite the cuts, we still see upside to $48 based on over $3 in F2017 EPS. Oracle and, to a lesser degree, Adobe both posted disappointing May-ending quarters, which demonstrates ongoing inconsistency in the enterprise."

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White (Buy, $48 PT)

"Oracle's transition to the cloud appears to be occurring much faster than the company anticipated, which we believe is positive for the company's future financial performance, but we expect this transition to disrupt near-term sales and profit metrics."

RBC Capital Markets analyst Ross MacMillan (Outperform, $48 PT)

"ORCL missed license, total revenue and EPS, but new cloud ARR bookings grew >200% and cloud billings grew +78% Y/Y. The challenge in the model today is weak cloud GMs due to investment. Once these turn in FY16, we think gross profit growth will resume, as will the path to better earnings. We understand the skepticism, but we are believers in the Oracle Cloud."

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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