What happened

Shares of Nutanix (NASDAQ:NTNX) jumped 27.8% in November, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, rallying both before and after its latest strong quarterly report.

That's not to say last month's gains came in a straight upward line; Nutanix shares initially fell nearly 10% through the first half of November, only to pop more than 10% on Nov. 15 despite a relative lack of company-specific news to support the move.

Stock market charts on a colorful display indicating gains.


So what

Still, shares of Nutanix continued to rally later in the month, particularly including a single-day pop of more than 16% on Nov. 26 as investors celebrated the release of the company's solid fiscal first-quarter 2020 results -- though those results didn't look particularly impressive at first glance. Revenue climbed 0.5% year over year to $314.8 million, translating to an adjusted net loss of $0.71 per share.

However, most analysts were anticipating an even wider loss of $0.75 per share on revenue closer to $306.4 million.

What's more, Nutanix's results were stronger than they looked; the company marked a return to top-line growth after a slight year-over-year decline in the previous quarter, largely driven by its ongoing shift away from hardware and toward a renewable subscription-based revenue model.

Now what

"We continued to make progress toward our goal of more than 75% of billings coming from subscription by the end of the fiscal year, further demonstrating that customers want the freedom and flexibility that a subscription software model offers," stated CFO Duston Williams. "Our last two quarters of solid execution position us well to deliver on our growth plans for fiscal 2020."

To that end, Nutanix expects fiscal second-quarter 2020 software and support revenue of between $330 million and $335 million, billings of between $410 million and $420 million, and an adjusted net loss per share of $0.70. Consequently, Nutanix introduced its full-year outlook for software and support revenue of between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion, with software and subscription billings of between $1.65 billion and $1.75 billion.

All things considered, the underlying strength of Nutanix's platform will only become more clear as long as Nutanix continues its transition to a renewable subscription model unabated. As that happens, I think Nutanix stock will likely continue to respond in kind.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.