The optimism on Wall Street proved to be short-lived, with major market benchmarks plummeting once more on Wednesday morning to give up much of their gains from the previous session. Worries about the global economy continued, and some criticized the federal government for failing to come up with a more definitive plan to provide fiscal stimulus. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 919 points to 24,099. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) had fallen 97 points to 2,785, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) had lost 258 points to 8,087.
Even in the wake of worries about the COVID-19 outbreak, earnings helped lift some stocks, and Cloudera (NYSE:CLDR) was a standout on the day. Meanwhile Apache (NASDAQ:APA) was among the worst decliners, with fears about the recent plunge in oil prices hitting the debt-laden oil and gas company especially hard.
A big win for the cloud
Shares of Cloudera were higher by 3%, bucking the big downward trend among tech companies. The enterprise data cloud computing company reported solid results in its fiscal fourth quarter, signaling that this rising star in the industry could continue to gain ground in the near future.
Cloudera's numbers for the quarter were solid. Revenue jumped 47% compared to year-earlier figures, with subscription-based sales climbing at a similar 48% rate. After accounting for extraordinary items, moreover, Cloudera actually managed to produce positive adjusted net income, surprising investors with a $0.04-per-share profit on an adjusted basis.
The outlook for Cloudera also seems encouraging. The company expects to roughly break even in the fiscal first quarter of this year, and full-year profits for the new fiscal year should be well ahead of what most of those following the cloud company had anticipated.
Many investors have noticed the performance of cloud-based stocks that rely on recurring revenue, and Cloudera has been a big beneficiary of the trend toward enterprise data management. As long as businesses need to monitor and make better use of their data, Cloudera will have a role to play in helping them succeed.
Apache loses energy
Meanwhile, shares of Apache fell 19%. The energy company wasn't the only one to lose ground today, but its stock fell especially hard due to specific worries about its ability to weather a long-term drop in oil prices.
The price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia sent crude oil plunging earlier this week, and since then the energy markets have shown few signs of recovering anytime soon. That's forced companies like Apache to try to reassess their operations and determine how much of their production activities makes economic sense with crude at current levels.
The problem Apache faces is that its debt levels are fairly high even for the energy industry. With $8.5 billion in debt, Apache's ratio of long-term debt to equity is currently above 70%. Apache has just $247 million in cash to offset that debt, making it important for the company to figure out ways to maintain and restructure its obligations in order to buy time to make it through the low-price environment in the oil patch.
A lot of companies are in a situation similar to Apache's, and energy stock investors are likely to see more pain in the months ahead. Barring a quick rebound in oil prices, shareholders in Apache and its peers should be ready for the foreseeable future to be a bumpy ride.