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Earnings Results: Workday forecast calls for growth of less than 20% as earnings top expectations

Workday Inc. shares fluctuated in the extended session Monday after the human-resources cloud-software company beat on earnings but offered a conservative guidance in a tough cloud software market.


shares bounced between gains and losses of less than 1% in after-hours trading following the release of the report, after a 1% rise in the regular session to close at $184.93.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $125.7 million, or 49 cents a share, compared with a loss of $73.3 million, or 29 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings, which exclude stock-based compensation expenses and other items, were 99 cents a share, compared with 78 cents a share in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose to $1.65 billion from $1.38 billion in the year-ago quarter, while subscription revenue rose 21.7% to $1.5 billion from a year ago. Analysts had forecast adjusted earnings of 89 cents a share on revenue of $1.63 billion and subscription revenue of $1.49 billion.

Read: Workday gets downgraded to hold as analyst expects cycle to favor lagging software names

“We now expect subscription revenue of $6.525 billion to $6.575 billion, growth of 17% to 18%, and non-GAAP operating margin of 23.0%, which includes a 150 basis point increase resulting from a change in our useful life policy for servers and network equipment,” Barbara Larson, Workday’s chief financial officer, said in a statement. “Our outlook reflects our strong fourth quarter execution and the scale of our model, balanced with our expectation that the environment will remain uncertain in the near-term.”

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast subscription revenue of $6.58 billion for the year.

Read: Cloud software is a ‘fight for a knife in the mud,’ and Wall Street is souring on the one sector that was winning

Workday makes applications that help companies automate human-resources and business tasks like payroll and expenses, while tracking employee data. Workday shares are down 18% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500

has declined 9%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite

has dropped 16%.

The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF

has fallen 18%, the Global X Cloud Computing ETF

has dropped 17%, the First Trust Cloud Computing ETF

has dropped 27%, and the WisdomTree Cloud Computing Fund

has plummeted 31%.

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