Clarus Fights Back, but Questions Remain - TheStreet

After getting

squished by

Commerce One

(CMRC)

and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

on Wednesday,

Clarus

(CLRS)

pealed itself off the asphalt Thursday.

The stock bolted as high as $27 in early trading, after finishing down 21% at $24 on Wednesday. Lately, it was up $2, or 8.3%, at $26.

The business-to-business software company's stock was hammered Wednesday after Commerce One and Microsoft

announced a partnership, which led investors to worry about Clarus' own partnership with Microsoft. The selloff was compounded by the fact that investors already were worried about Clarus' third quarter.

But Clarus and analysts are stressing that Commerce One and Clarus focus on different parts of the B2B market. While Commerce One is aggressively targeting big industrial exchanges on the Internet, Clarus targets small- and medium-sized businesses.

Ian Morton, an analyst at

Chase H&Q

who rates Clarus a buy, says while Clarus' Microsoft problem is more perceived than real, quarterly concerns are still hanging over the stock.

"There's some question about how does the quarter come out," said Morton, whose firm underwrote a follow-on stock offering for Clarus in March. "They're running hard to the end of the quarter. There's enough business out there, but it's backend loaded. They're running hard to close deals."

Morton expects Clarus to report around $14 million in quarterly revenue and a loss of 36 cents per share. He called Thursday's bounce just the other side of Wednesday's selloff.

"We're in a trading pattern right now where stocks tend to move one way or the other," Morton said. "It gets oversold and then bounces back. Clearly, the stock has been punished over the last few weeks."

Since Sept. 5, Clarus shares have lost more than 50% of their value.

On Wednesday, a Clarus representative stressed that the company hadn't changed its guidance to Wall Street analysts. But Morton didn't sound reassured. "Right now, it's probably too close to call," he said.