Stop me if you've heard this one.

Software veteran Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE) just reported a brilliant quarter. Earnings per share were $0.38, up 58% over the year-ago period, on 37% higher revenue, or $890 million. It's the second great quarter in a row, proving Adobe's market power against rivals such as Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Avid Technology (Nasdaq: AVID), and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). Yet the stock price is down about 15% over the last six months, despite a 13% gain this morning.

Technology companies seem unable to impress Mr. Market these days, as recession fears trump all the strength you'll find in individual businesses.

On its own merits, there's no reason why Adobe would be worth less today than it was worth last September, or for that matter, last March. The product portfolio is organized into coherent suites of digital media creation tools, information management software, and so on, and the packages are a big hit with customers.

The products themselves are market leaders in each niche -- Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) YouTube and News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS) MySpace both use Adobe Flash for their video streaming needs, despite competition from Microsoft Silverlight and Apple QuickTime. In fact, Microsoft just signed a license to include Flash Lite in the next mobile version of Internet Explorer. Adobe is convincing even its enemies.

Adobe is also keeping costs on a short leash, with a generous share-buyback program in full swing. All of that, and the exposure to an American recession is fairly limited because the company generates more than half of its sales overseas.

I don't know what else we could ask the company to do. The shares must bounce back to a fair valuation someday soon. By my estimation, a 50% improvement would be reasonable, given the growth story and peer comparisons.

Now, that's a funny story.

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