Today's stock market
|Index||Percentage Change||Point Change|
Technology shares partially rebounded from yesterday's drubbing, and the iShares US Technology ETF (NYSEMKT:IYW) gained 0.6%. Gold slumped and the dollar rose on comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen; the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEMKT:GDX) closed down 2%.
Red Hat crushes expectations
Open-source software provider Red Hat reported strong growth in its fiscal second quarter on the strength of its cloud computing technology, and investors bid up its stock 4.1%. The company reported revenue jumped 21% to $723 million, with non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.77, a 40% increase from year-ago period. Wall Street analysts were expecting EPS of $0.67 on revenue of $699 million. The company also increased its guidance for revenue and profit for the full year.
Red Hat's largest segment -- subscription revenue from infrastructure-related software -- grew 14%, but growth was fueled by application development-related subscriptions, up 44%, and a 25% increase in revenue from service offerings. For the first half of the fiscal year, Red Hat generated 26% growth in non-GAAP operating income and a 22% gain in operating cash flow.
"Strong demand for our technologies that enable hybrid cloud computing has contributed to accelerated revenue growth in the first half of the fiscal year," said CEO Jim Whitehurst in the press release. "IT organizations continued to turn to Red Hat as a strategic technology partner to help them transform and modernize their applications and infrastructure for the hybrid cloud."
Red Hat's offerings provide tools for customers to build a combination of private and public cloud computing platforms, and the company is successfully riding the cloud computing wave. Second-quarter results were actually an acceleration of growth from a strong first quarter, and investor approval has shown in the stock price, up 58% in 2017.
Darden's unsatisfying quarter
Darden Restaurants, parent company of the Olive Garden chain, reported earnings today that met analyst expectations for revenue and profit, but disappointed on the closely watched same-store sales metric. Shares closed down 6.5%.
Sales increased 12.9% to $1.94 billion, which included 11.2% of growth from Darden's acquisition of 141 Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen restaurants earlier this year and the addition of 21 other restaurants. Adjusted earnings per share were up 12.5% to $0.99.
Olive Garden same-store sales were affected by a 0.3% decrease in traffic, but still came in at a 1.9% gain due to a 1.5% increase in pricing and a 0.7% increase in ticket. Looking forward, the company reaffirmed its previous guidance of 1% to 2% same-store sales growth in its legacy brands, total sales growth of 11.5% to 13%, and adjusted EPS of $4.38 to $4.50, compared with last year's adjusted earnings of $4.02 per share.
"Our focus on simplifying operations and providing an excellent value for our core consumer continues to yield strong sales growth," said CEO Gene Lee. "The teams continue to make appropriate investments in their brands and manage costs effectively. These actions have enabled Darden to outperform the industry."
That Darden Restaurants expects to deliver double-digit growth in a "restaurant recession" and maintained guidance despite two major hurricanes was little consolation to investors, who were apparently hoping for better.