Wall Street relies on good information, and over the past several years, stock analysts and investment professionals have increasingly turned to FactSet Research Systems (NYSE:FDS) for the financial information they need in order to help their clients. Yet as with any supplier, FactSet's fortunes are linked at least in part to the health of its customers, and the steep market downturn in December made many people nervous about whether it could sustain the momentum it's generated throughout the bull market.
Coming into Tuesday's fiscal second-quarter financial report, FactSet shareholders wanted to see stable growth in revenue and earnings, and the company's results were largely in line with those expectations. With the stock market having regained so much ground in the past few months, investors seem to be a lot more comfortable that FactSet will hang onto its clients and prosper in the long run.
How FactSet kept feeding financial information to its clients
FactSet's fiscal second-quarter results were consistent with how the company has performed in the recent past. Revenue of $354.9 million was up 5.9% from year-ago levels, just about matching what most of those following the stock had expected to see on FactSet's top line. Adjusted net income of $93.6 million was higher by 11% over the same period, and the resulting adjusted earnings of $2.42 per share topped consensus forecasts among investors for $2.33 per share.
Looking more closely at FactSet's fundamentals, trends similar to what the information provider has had in place for quite a while persisted. Organic revenue climbed almost 6%, with higher sales of its core analytics, content and technology solutions, and wealth management solutions contributing the most to its gains over the period. Annual subscription value climbed to $1.44 billion, up $50 million in just the past three months.
Sell-side customers contributed more to FactSet's growth, with annual subscription value for that part of the business climbing 9.2%. Buy-side growth was slower at 5.3%, but FactSet continues to get the vast majority of its business -- more than five-sixths of it -- from that part of the business. Only a small part of FactSet's revenue comes from companies doing advisory work on mergers and acquisitions or providing capital markets services and independent equity research. International growth of 4.6% lagged FactSet's domestic performance of 5.8%, however.
New clients are still coming to FactSet. The company now counts more than 5,400 clients with more than 122,000 users, and retention rates have remained in the low 90%s in terms of number of clients and above 95% in terms of dollar revenue.
CEO Phil Snow celebrated the news. "As we close the first half of the year," Snow said, "we are pleased to have built upon our long track record of continuous and steady growth." The CEO pointed to FactSet's ability to keep offering core services in a manner that interests more of its customers.
Check out the latest earnings call transcript for FactSet Research Systems.
What's ahead for FactSet?
FactSet sees the rest of the fiscal year as an opportunity to keep making progress doing what it does best. In Snow's words, "We will continue to execute against our proven strategy of providing smarter, connected data and technology solutions that make for an open and flexible user experience."
The company also took the opportunity to boost part of its prior guidance. FactSet still expects to have full-year revenue of between $1.41 billion and $1.45 billion, with gains of between $75 million and $90 million in organic annual subscription value and professional services revenue. However, the company raised the lower end of its earnings guidance, with new projections calling for a range of $9.50 to $9.65 per share on the bottom line.
FactSet shareholders didn't have a huge response to the report immediately, as the stock rose only a fraction of a percent early Tuesday morning following the report. Yet with the company having withstood one market pullback, investors in FactSet should be more confident that the information provider has what it takes to keep its financial clients happy.