What happened

In an up-and-down year, shares of data analytics specialist Alteryx (NYSE:AYX) finished up 22%, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company faced a number of challenges during the year, including the coronavirus pandemic, a sharp slowdown in revenue growth related to the pandemic, and the surprise departure of CEO and founder Dean Stoecker.

Despite those challenges, the stock still benefited from a rising tide in tech stocks and a jump out of the gate at the beginning of the year to finish with solid gains.

A businessman looking at charts on his desk and computer

Image source: Getty Images.

The chart below shows the stock's trajectory for the year.

AYX Chart

AYX data by YCharts

So what

Alteryx came into the year with a top-notch track record, having gained more than 500% since its 2017 IPO, making it one of a number cloud stock darlings that have put up impressive gains in recent years.  

The stock kicked off the year on a strong note, riding a bullish wave at the beginning of the year and posting impressive results in its February earnings report. The company reported 75% revenue growth and a doubling in adjusted earnings per share, sending the stock up 10% on Feb. 14.

Soon after, the stock began to pull back as the spreading coronavirus pandemic shook the market, and wiped away nearly 50% of Alteryx's market value through mid-March. Once Congress passed the CARES Act and the Fed said it would do what it takes to maintain liquidity in the economy, stocks began to bounce back, with growth stocks leading the way. Alteryx shares surged through the spring, peaking in July, but trouble set in when the company indicated a sharp deceleration in revenue growth for the second half of the year in its second-quarter earnings report. The stock plunged by 30% over a two-day span after the report came out.

Alteryx shares recovered some of those losses in October when the company announced a new CEO and reported preliminary third-quarter results that were better than its guidance. However, shares fell again when it offered disappointing fourth-quarter guidance in its November earnings report. The stock finished the year modestly above its August lows.

Now what

It's only been a few days into 2021, but the company has already made news, again reporting disappointing preliminary quarterly results, showing annual recurring revenue below guidance.

The company faces a lot of questions going into the new year as CEO Mark Anderson, who comes from cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks, recently replaced Stoecker, and it's unclear if Alteryx is seeing a temporary slowdown in revenue growth or if something more structural has changed.

Expect to learn more when the company gives its full fourth-quarter earnings report in February.

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