Updated from June 17
investors are proving hard to please.
Spurred by strong sales, the graphics software shop topped analysts' earnings estimates Thursday night and offered above-forecast guidance the third quarter. Investors responded by taking the stock down 91 cents, or 2%, to $43.70 on Friday's premarket session.
The software maker's results were driven by sales of two of its leading products, Acrobat and Creative Suite, the company said.
In its quarter ended June 4, Adobe earned $109.40 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with $64.25 million, or 27 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The company's sales jumped 28.1% year over year to $410.09 million.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting Adobe to earn 42 cents a share on $404.84 million in sales. Last month, the company raised its guidance, saying it expected to earn 39 cents to 44 cents a share in its second quarter on sales ranging from $390 million to $410 million.
Adobe expects to top analysts' current estimates again in its third quarter. The company forecast earnings of 31 cents to 36 cents a share on revenue ranging from $360 million to $380 million. Analysts had projected that the company would earn 32 cents a share on $363.57 million in sales.
The market's reaction can partly be chalked up to Adobe's forecast for the third quarter. While it offered guidance that was above expectations, it still forecast a sequential decline in revenues. Additionally, the company projected that its operating margins would slip in the quarter.
In the second quarter, Adobe's operating income amounted to about 34.6% of its revenue. But in the third quarter, the company expects its operating margin to range from 28% to 31% of sales.
On a conference call with analysts, Adobe officials blamed the decline in revenues on the seasonal nature of the company's business. The operating margin drop also has to do with a number of seasonal factors such as the company's annual raises, which it generally hands out in the quarter, company officials said.
But company CEO Bruce Chizen said that part of the jump in expected operating expenses has to do with the company's longer-term strategy. Adobe added about 130 employees to its research and development department in the second quarter. As a portion of sales, the company expects its spending research and development to grow from 18.5% in the second quarter to 21% to 22% of sales in the third quarter.
Chizen noted that many analysts were concerned about Adobe's ability to post double-digit revenue growth this year because it hasn't released many major titles. In contrast, the company expects to release several major upgrades next fiscal year, he said. The company sees a number of opportunities to grow its business, Chizen said.
"We want to make sure we invest against those opportunities so we can sustain double-digit growth," he said. "We think that's the right thing to do for shareholders."