Why Nimble Storage Shares Jumped, Then Fell 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 Nimble Storage (NYSE: NMBL  ) initially rose by more than 8% early Friday following better-than-expected first-quarter results. However, Nimble then proceeded to fall more than 12% as the morning wore on before finally settling to close around 6% lower.

So what: Quarterly sales more than doubled year over year, to $46.5 million, which translated to a relatively flat adjusted net loss of $10 million, or $0.14 per share. Analysts, on average, were looking for an adjusted loss of $0.16 per share on sales of $43.81 million.

For the current quarter, Nimble Storage expects revenue in the range of $49 million to $51 million, and an operating loss between $11 million and $12 million. That should translate to an adjusted loss per share of $0.16 to $0.17. During the subsequent conference call, Nimble CFO Anup Singh also stated that this operating loss is "in the range of what we would expect for the next few quarters." Analysts' models were looking for a loss of $0.16 per share on sales of roughly $47.9 million.

But Singh also noted that, by the end of next fiscal year, they expect to hit breakeven on an adjusted operating income basis, with "breakeven on a free cash flow basis achieved ahead of that timeline."

Now what: However, some investors are also concerned about Nimble's impending expiration of its 180-day lockup period on June 11, when 62 million previously restricted shares will be made available for sale. Of course, that doesn't guarantee shares of Nimble Storage will fall then, especially considering recent disparate reactions to other companies' respective lock-up expirations.

In the end, though, Nimble stock definitely isn't "cheap" trading around 15 times trailing 12-month sales, so perhaps the market was simply hoping for a bigger beat. For now, I'm opting to simply put Nimble on my watch list to keep tabs on its progress during the next quarter or so. If it shows more evidence of a sustainable long-term trend, I might consider jumping in then.

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