The Street has high expectations for
fourth-quarter earnings report, due Tuesday after the closing bell.
But analysts generally believe that the bullishness is already built into the stock.
The consensus estimate of analysts, according to Thomson First Call, projects revenue of $5.6 billion, the high end of the company's guidance of $5.4 billion to $5.6 billion for the quarter ended in May.
EPS, excluding items, is expected to be 35 cents. The company said in March that it expected to earn 34 cents a share.
Likely helping the bullishness is the handful of research notes published following the enterprise software giant's sales meeting in June, which noted uncomfirmed talk of large transactions signed in the quarter.
"They could be some of the largest deals in the company's history," said Robert Stimson, an analyst with W.R. Hambrecht.
Oracle seems to have had a solid quarter; the question is "how much has already been anticipated from the Street," Stimson added.
Indeed, the stock has risen about 15% in the last three months to $19.48 -- hitting a 52-week high of $19.96 last Wednesday.
Chatter at the company's recent sales meeting indicated a sizeable telecom deal, a financial services deal and possibly a government contract. The deals are likely multiyear, and at least one's worth is reputed to be in the $500 million range, although revenue would be deferred over the length of its contract, Stimson said.
A recent article in
this month rolled out Oracle's Siebel customer relationship management software, a system for 16,000 users and up to 7,500 concurrent sessions.
"The question is how will they explain it to us," he said. Software companies' practice of deferring unearned revenue "makes these companies so hard to cover. But it bodes well for backlog, license revenue growth and maintenance revenue growth."
Significantly beating the performance of the company's year-ago quarter is no easy act. A year ago, Oracle reported license revenue growth of 28%, year on year.
It's that room for sell-the-news profit-taking after Tuesday's report that has some analysts sounding a cautious tone.
A.G. Edwards analyst Kevin Buttigieg wrote in a research note Monday that "fundamental and stock outperformance might be limited by the already high expectations, particularly for license revenues."
Both A.G. Edwards and WR Hambrecht make a market in Oracle stock.