What happened

Shares of customer-service software company Zendesk (ZEN) were lower by 13.5% at midday Friday following Thursday's post-close release of its second-quarter earnings figures, which fell short of expectations.

So what

For the three-month stretch ending in June, Zendesk turned $318.2 million in revenue into a per-share operating profit of $0.13. The bottom line fell by a penny year over year, while the top line improved by 29%. Both figures missed analyst estimates by just a tiny fraction, but a significant fraction given the company's pressured profit margins. Total operating expenses expanded by nearly 36% year over year, exceeding top-line growth.

Man watching a falling chart.

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Zendesk is also forecasting third-quarter revenue between $332 million and $337 million, versus a consensus estimate of $335.5 million. That doesn't give would-be buyers much to latch on to, either.

Now what

It's a misstep to be sure, but an understandable one. All second-quarter results are being compared to numbers produced in an unprecedented environment, and all businesses are still operating under a cloud of uncertainty. It's also arguable that many Zendesk shareholders were poised to take profits on the stock today regardless of last quarter's results.

Given this (in addition to sales-growth forecasts in excess of 20% through next year), the stock is certainly not irredeemable at its present valuation. Its software-as-a-service offering is clearly capable of attracting an increasing number of customers. It's the analysts who may have been overly aggressive here, setting the stage for what could end up being only a temporary setback.