How VMware's Earnings Will Fare This Quarter

Next Tuesday, VMware (NYSE: VMW  ) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise.

VMware has been a long-term growth giant in the red-hot virtual-computing industry. But last quarter, the company saw its growth slow down sharply, and that led investors to knock the stock from its nosebleed-level valuations. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with VMware over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its report.

Stats on VMware

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.70

Change From Year-Ago EPS

6.1%

Revenue Estimate

$1.18 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

12.2%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

4

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Can VMware regain investors' confidence this quarter?
Analysts have been somewhat negative on VMware's earnings prospects in recent months, reducing their estimates for the just-ended quarter by $0.04 per share but limiting their consensus reduction for full-year 2013 to $0.01. The stock has plunged, though, losing almost a quarter of its value since mid-January.

VMware has done an exceptional job of taking advantage of the move toward cloud computing and virtualization software, as its customers have turned to the company for help in optimizing data-center efficiency to make the most of the cloud and the data that it helps those customers collect. But as the industry has gotten more competitive, it's been increasingly difficult for VMware to produce the growth necessary to justify investors' high expectations of the company.

Moreover, competition has gotten tougher in the industry. Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS  ) has managed to sustain strong growth in product and license revenue in its most recent quarter and appears to be poised to start taking market share away from VMware. In addition, Red Hat (NYSE: RHT  ) has also achieved better license-revenue growth, suggesting that the problem may be solely with VMware rather than reflective of an industrywide trend.

Shares bounced somewhat last month when VMware said it and parent company EMC (NYSE: EMC  ) would spin off VMware's Cloud Foundry service and EMC's data analytics software business. The spinoff, to be called Pivotal, won't go public anytime soon, but it might help focus VMware on making the most of all of its various opportunities.

In VMware's report, pay close attention to whether the company can see renewed growth in its core sources of revenue. If the slowdown continues, then VMware could see another big shift down for its share price.

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  • Report this Comment On April 19, 2013, at 6:49 PM, rsinj wrote:

    Here's the thing - the company continues to handily beat estimates quarter after quarter on both the top and bottom lines. If everyone is focusing on this one particular growth component to the point where nothing else matters, then why have an earnings estimate at all? What the heck is of importance here - that the company is making lots of money for shareholders and beating consensus estimates on top and bottom lines or that this growth number isn't growing enough? Again, what is important here?

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