Why Workday, Inc. Shares Popped Today

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Workday (NYSE: WDAY  ) rose more than 15% Thursday after the HR and finance enterprise application specialist announced better-than-expected fiscal fourth quarter 2014 results.

So what: Quarterly revenue rose 74% year over year to $141.9 million, including an 86% jump in subscription revenue to $110.7 million. That translated to an adjusted net loss of $0.13 per diluted share, compared with an adjusted net loss of $0.16 per share in the same year-ago period.

Analysts, on average, were expecting an adjusted net loss of $0.16 per share on sales of $137.91 million.

For the current quarter, Workday expects revenue in the range of $148 million to $153 million, or a year-over-year increase of 61% to 67%. For the full fiscal year 2015, revenue is anticipated to be in the range of $710 million to $740 million, representing growth of 51% to 58%.

By contrast, analysts were looking for first quarter and full year sales of $148.22 million and $705.5 million, respectively.

Now what: Even so, I have a hard time believing that performance merits valuing Workday as a $20 billion company -- that's 43 times last year's sales. Workday's beat today wasn't that big, its revenue isn't growing that quickly, and its losses aren't narrowing that fast. For now, and especially after today's pop, that's why I think investors would be wise to watch Workday from the sidelines.

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