Why Adobe Systems Inc. Shares Soared 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 Adobe Systems (NASDAQ: ADBE  ) touched a new all-time high early Wednesday, jumping more than 10% after the company released better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results.

So what: Quarterly revenue rose 5.7%, to $1.07 billion, which was well above Adobe's own targeted range of $1.00 billion to $1.05 billion. That translated to adjusted earnings of $0.37 per diluted share. Analysts, on average, were only looking for earnings of $0.34 per share on sales of $1.03 billion.

Adobe also provided fiscal third-quarter guidance for sales of $975 million to $1.025 billion, and adjusted earnings per share of $0.22 to $0.28. Curiously, the mid-point of both ranges sits below analysts' average expectations for earnings of $0.27 per share on sales of $1.02 billion.

Now what: If you're wondering why the market is willing to overlook Adobe's Q3 guidance shortfall, look no further than the stellar performance of its Cloud-based software offerings. First, quarterly revenue from Adobe's Marketing Cloud grew 23% year over year, to $283 million. But the real standout was Adobe's Creative Cloud solution, which grew more than 25% sequentially, to 2.308 million subscribers. Better yet, management expects Creative Cloud sequential growth to continue accelerating through the rest of the year, culminating in the addition of another 1 million subscribers.

As a result, Adobe is now targeting $1.925 billion in annual recurring revenue from digital media products as it exits fiscal 2014. All things considered -- and even with shares currently trading at a rich 36 times next year's expected earnings -- I think Adobe Systems stock is a solid buy for long-term investors today.

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