Cerner (NASDAQ:CERN) has quietly become a solid winner so far in 2019. Shares of the healthcare technology company are handily beating the broader market indexes. Cerner has met or beat Wall Street earnings expectations in recent quarters as well.

The company announced its third-quarter results after the market closed on Thursday. And Cerner kept its streak going, meeting or beating analysts' estimates once again. Here are the highlights from Cerner's Q3 update.

Doctor holding a touchscreen tablet with medical images appear in the foreground.

Image source: Getty Images.

The key numbers

Cerner reported Q3 revenue of $1.43 billion, up 7% from the prior-year period. This figure matched the consensus revenue estimate for Wall Street analysts.

The company announced net income of $81.9 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This reflected a steep decline from 2018 Q3 GAAP net earnings of $169.4 million, or $0.51 per diluted share.

Cerner's adjusted non-GAAP earnings for the third quarter came in at $211.7 million, or $0.66 per diluted share. In the prior-year period, the company reported adjusted earnings of $209.4 million, or $0.63 per diluted share. The average analysts' estimate for Cerner's 2019 Q3 earnings was $0.63 per share. Cerner, however, stated that its adjusted earnings per share were "in line with the company's expectations."

The company also reported that its third-quarter bookings totaled $1.65 billion, at the upper end of its expectations. Cerner's backlog at the end of Q3 stood at $13.3 billion.

Behind those numbers

Cerner Chairman and CEO Brent Shafer said that he was "pleased with our execution in the third quarter as we again delivered against the expectations we set while also continuing to advance Cerner's broader transformation." How did the company manage to deliver a solid performance yet again? By increasing revenue across the board.

Nearly every area of business for Cerner enjoyed higher revenue in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the prior-year period. The lone exception was support and maintenance revenue, but it only slipped a little from $277.8 million in 2018 Q3 to $277.3 million in the recent quarter.

Most importantly, Cerner's professional services revenue jumped 11% year over year to $507.5 million. Professional services is the company's biggest moneymaker.

But what about that big GAAP earnings decline? It stemmed primarily from a significant organizational restructuring expense of $117.4 million.

Looking ahead

Cerner anticipates Q4 revenue of $1.41 billion to $1.46 billion. The high end of that range, though, is a little less than the consensus Wall Street Q4 revenue estimate of $1.47 billion. Cerner also expects adjusted diluted earnings per share in the fourth quarter of between $0.73 and $0.75, in line with analysts' estimates.

Shafer said, "I believe the balanced focus of near-term operational improvements combined with our innovation and growth strategies position Cerner to deliver sustainable and profitable growth." He's probably right with that assessment. Although Cerner might not be able to provide investors with the sizzling growth that some technology stocks can, solid double-digit total returns in the future seem attainable.

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