The stock market has been tough for investors to navigate lately, and Friday provided a good example of some of the crosscurrents investors have had to face. On one hand, Wall Street seemed to be in a good mood overall Friday morning, with futures contracts on major market indexes all signaling modest gains. Yet some high-profile companies saw their share prices fall precipitously, as business-specific concerns overcame the general upward trend in the broader market.

In particular, software-as-a-service (SaaS) stocks Atlassian (TEAM 2.66%) and Twilio (TWLO 2.94%) were among the worst performers in premarket trading Friday morning. Both companies had downbeat forecasts, and they have some investors wondering whether the entire SaaS stock business model could prove not to be as resilient as its proponents have suggested for years.

Atlassian sees slowing growth

Shares of Atlassian plunged 23% in premarket trading Friday morning. Despite reporting fiscal first-quarter results for the period ending Sept. 30 that showed continuing sales growth, the workplace collaboration software specialist's comments about what the future could bring threw cold water on investors' enthusiasm about the stock.

Atlassian's revenue for the quarter came in at $807 million, up 31% year over year. Net losses before accounting adjustments narrowed considerably from year-ago levels, but adjusted net income of $92.5 million was actually down 2% from the previous year's quarter. That produced adjusted earnings of $0.36 per share.

Comments from Atlassian's letter to shareholders, however, showed exactly what investors have feared about the company and the enterprise software industry more generally. Citing macroeconomic impacts, Atlassian reported that it continued to see fewer users of its free software subsequently convert to paid plans, with adverse trends from the previous quarter worsening over the past three months. In addition, the workplace software company started to see its rate of growth among existing customers slow this quarter.

Atlassian was clear that it doesn't see its competitive position weakening, and in fact, it believes it can take steps to gain long-term market share. Yet the recognition that the company isn't immune from macroeconomic impacts links Atlassian to the health of the global economy, and that's something that many SaaS stock investors had hoped wouldn't be the case.

Twilio points to short-term headwinds

Twilio saw similar share-price declines, falling 24% in premarket trading. The customer engagement software specialist reported third-quarter financial results that also called into question future growth trends.

Quarterly results for Twilio were mixed. Revenue of $983 million was up 33% year over year. However, the company reversed a year-ago operating profit with losses from operations of $35.1 million. That translated into an adjusted net loss of $0.27 per share, compared to a tiny $0.01-per-share profit in the year-ago period.

Customers have continued to turn to Twilio for their omnichannel customer communication needs, as the company added 30,000 active customer accounts over the past 12 months to bring its total to more than 280,000. However, dollar-based net expansion rates fell by 9 percentage points to 122% in the third quarter.

Yet Twilio sees a continued slowdown, projecting fourth-quarter revenue of between $995 million and $1.005 billion and another loss of $0.06 to $0.11 per share. That would bring year-over-year sales growth down into the teens on a percentage basis.

Twilio pointed to macro-related challenges in areas like cryptocurrency, consumer-on-demand, and social media that are having worsening impacts as the economy deteriorates. Moreover, the company fears that the trends are extending to retail and e-commerce, and that could prove highly problematic for many other SaaS companies that rely on those industries for a considerable portion of their business.

Weathering the storm

Atlassian and Twilio are both going through their first macroeconomic slowdown, and the big question is to what extent they'll keep seeing impacts to their respective businesses from customers trying to cut back on spending. The SaaS companies could well prove the viability of their business models over the long run, but that's still a bit disappointing to those who'd hoped for more stable performance even in tough times.