Oracle’s STEALTHY Quarterly Earnings Impress Investors

Oracle Corp (NASDAQ:ORCL) unexpectedly advanced the announcement of its fourth-quarter results from Thursday to Monday.

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In a hastily convened conference call, the company announced details of a solid quarter that put to rest any fears for the effect of the European crisis on the company’s business, and came in ahead of analysts’ estimates.

Net earnings were $3.45 billion (69 cents a share) compared to $3.2 billion (62 cents a share) last year. Excluding items, the earnings were 82 cents per share, ahead of the 78 cents expected by analysts.

Revenues improved 1 percent over last year to $10.9 billion, which was marginally better than Street expectations. Notably, sales of new software licenses were up 7 percent, indicating businesses were still investing in automation and administrative software solutions.

Significantly, the above results came in the face of strong currency headwinds – but for the stronger dollar, sales would have been up 5 percent over last year, while software licensing revenue would have been higher by 11 percent.

The hardware division continues to be the company’s Achilles’ heel, with revenues dropping off 16 percent, and calling into question the wisdom of the $7.3 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems two years ago.

However, shareholders should be delighted to hear that the company intends to spend another $10 billion on a stock buyback, which should boost future earnings per share.

Shares of Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) are closed higher 1.9% at at $28.49 per share Wednesday.

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