What happened

Shares of NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) have gotten crushed today, down by 12% as of 11:20 a.m. EDT, after the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings results. The hybrid cloud data management specialist missed on multiple fronts and offered soft guidance for the first quarter.

So what

Revenue in the fiscal fourth quarter came in at $1.59 billion, down from $1.64 billion a year ago and shy of the $1.65 billion in sales that analysts were modeling for. That translated into non-GAAP net income of $305 million, or $1.22 per share, also missing the market's expectations of $1.26 per share in adjusted profit. NetApp returned $597 million to shareholders during the quarter in the form of stock buybacks and dividends. The company finished the quarter with $3.9 billion in cash on the balance sheet.

Red stock chart going down

Image source: Getty Images.

"Despite the modest shortfall relative to our fiscal year 2019 expectations, we made significant progress in the strategic markets of All-Flash, Private Cloud, and Cloud Data Services. Our Data Fabric strategy clearly differentiates us from our competitors," CEO George Kurian said in a statement. "Enterprises are choosing NetApp to be a strategic partner in their digital transformations. Our opportunity is large and growing, and we are moving quickly to improve our execution."

Now what

On the conference call, Kurian said the company's progress was "masked by execution issues in the fourth quarter," while acknowledging that revenue was at the low end of NetApp's guidance range.

In terms of guidance for the fiscal first quarter, NetApp expects revenue of $1.32 billion to $1.47 billion, which should result in adjusted earnings per share of $0.78 to $0.86. Consensus estimates currently call for $1.5 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings per share of $1.05.

CFO Ronald Pasek said, "In fiscal 2020, we expect revenues to grow at the low end of our mid-single-digit range driven by continued momentum in our private cloud business and an inflection in our cloud data services as solutions on Azure and other services become more broadly available."

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