October 19, 2011
Ah, the highs and lows of earnings season! Last Thursday, Google kicked off things off and we're already starting to see some pretty memorable results, with companies seeing share prices skyrocket -- or pop. However, the Street can get a bit too focused on the arbitrary short-term targets it sets for companies, overzealously bidding up companies for beating expected earnings by a few pennies or frantically selling off companies that missed earnings but still have a bright future.
Here's a look back at three companies that saw their fortunes rise after earnings and a peek at whether the Street is missing something.
- Intel (Nasdaq: INTC )
Intel saw adjusted earnings climb 33% year over year, with revenues seeing a 29% leap. That doesn't exactly jibe with the conventional wisdom that PC sales are on the fall. So where's the disconnect?
Simply put, people are missing the emerging-market story. Research firms like Gartner and IDC that measure PC sales appear to be undercounting developing countries that are powering Intel's growth. The end sales in these countries often come from PC malls or cheap "white box" vendors that can be underrepresented. After earnings, Intel closed up 3.6%.
Is the Street right to send Intel share skyrocketing? Today's gain looks fair. I've long been trumpeting the hidden that growth not only Intel, but also graphics rival NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA ) are finding in China. However, as Intel's earnings today show, other markets, including Brazil and Indonesia, are also kicking in their fair share of growth. As a top-end manufacturer of physical goods, Intel can profit from emerging-market trends in a way that's closed to software peers like Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) that are stifled by rampant piracy in these markets.
- Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG )
A company that might be off tech investors' radars because of its health-care focus, Intuitive Surgical makes advanced robots for surgery. The company soundly trumped earnings estimates, with revenues landing at $446.7 million while analysts were expecting only about $418 million. Investors responded to the news by sending shares up 9% today.
Is the Street right to send Intuitive shares skyrocketing? The gain is pretty high, especially considering it trades for a steep earnings multiple approaching 40. I love Intuitive for its classical "razor blade" business model, but neither the bump nor better guidance seems reason enough to send Intuitive soaring an extra 9%. Other growth stocks are seeing large pops off better-than-expected earnings, but those stocks are often well off their 52-week highs. Intuitive sits just below its 52-week high, so this pop isn't a reaction after a "sky-is-falling" plunge in recent months.
If you believed in Intuitive and its da Vinci system before earnings, the story hasn't changed. If you found Intuitive too expensive before earnings, it just got even more expensive without much material change in its business direction.
- Riverbed (Nasdaq: RVBD )
Riverbed specializes in Wide Area Network (WAN) optimzation products. The company generated $190.6 million in revenues against analyst expectations of $185 million, and earnings were $0.24 per share, $0.03 ahead of expectations. Shares are up 13% in after-hours trading.
Is the Street right to send Intuitive shares skyrocketing? I'm going with a definite "yes" on this one. Why? Well, Riverbed got absolutely crushed for issuing reasonable earnings last quarter. Fears that IT spending would fall off a cliff had sent Riverbed well over 50% off its 52-week highs recently. However, we're now seeing that the IT spending situation isn't as bad as investors feared, and that Riverbed's Steelhead appliances continue to be in high demand.
In isolation, the jump in Riverbed's shares tonight looks a little over-caffeinated. Looking at the full picture, it seems they're just recovering after a series of unfair beatdowns this summer. As recently as yesterday, I called Riverbed a better buy than networking giant Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) . Even after its overnight jump, shares still look pretty attractive.
That's it for today's earnings recap. To stay updated on all things technology make sure to follow my market commentary on Twitter, @bleekertech, or add any of the above companies to our new My Watchlist service. It's free and will deliver all the Fool's best news and analysis on all your favorite companies in one central place. Get started today!