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Why Citrix Systems, 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 Citrix Systems, (NASDAQ: CTXS  ) are up 8% in afternoon trading after topping out at a near-11% gain earlier today. The stock popped at the open and has remained near double-digit gains all day after Citrix reported good first quarter earnings results after yesterday's closing bell.

So what: Citrix's first quarter came through  with $750.8 million in revenue (a 12% year-over-year improvement) and adjusted earnings of $0.64 per share, up from $0.62 per share from the year-ago quarter. Both figures topped Wall Street's expectations, which had sought $732.3 million in revenue and $0.59 in EPS. In GAAP terms, Citrix's EPS actually declined from $0.32 last year to $0.30 today. Citrix's board also authorized additional share repurchases up to $1.5 billion, which at the company's current market cap would result in taking 7.4% of its shares off the market.

However, yesterday's update wasn't all good news. Citrix now expects revenue to fall in a range of $765 million to $775 million for the second quarter, and also expects EPS to range from $0.57 to $0.59 for that quarter. Both estimates are below Wall Street's consensus figures, which anticipate $784.5 million in revenue and $0.67 in EPS. Citrix's full-year guidance was nudged a shade higher on the low end, into a range of $3.166 billion to $3.210 billion, which is roughly in line with Wall Street's full-year projection of $3.18 billion in revenue. Citrix's EPS guidance was also boosted on the low end to a new range of between $2.90 and $2.95. which is slightly ahead of Wall Street's $2.91 consensus.

Now what: Citrix's full-year EPS range actually falls below the $3.02 in adjusted EPS  it reported for 2013. While the company's double beat is good news for this quarter, it's hard to call its forward guidance anything but disappointing, especially since GAAP EPS was already on a slightly downward trend  since the start of 2013. Today's pop doesn't seem to signal anything more than short-term celebration. If you want to invest after this report, make sure that the rest of your information about Citrix outweighs the surface-level mediocrity on display in yesterday's forward guidance.

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Alex Planes

Alex Planes specializes in the deep analysis of tech, energy, and retail companies, with a particular focus on the ways new or proposed technologies can (and will) shape the future. He is also a dedicated student of financial and business history, often drawing on major events from the past to help readers better understand what's happening today and what might happen tomorrow.

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