Why Computer Sciences Shares Tumbled

Mixed earnings results send the wrong signals to investors.

Sean Williams
Sean Williams
May 15, 2013 at 3:38PM
Technology and Telecom

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of information technology outsourcing and service provider Computer Sciences (NYSE:CSC) dipped as much as 12% after the company reported mixed fourth-quarter results.

So what: Computer Sciences CEO Mike Lawrie commented that his company's transition away from infrastructure sales toward industry software and service sales will be better for the long run, but that this transition could hurt revenue in the interim. Not surprisingly, revenue fell 7% from the previous year -- to $3.7 billion -- which was shy of the $3.8 billion that Wall Street had been expecting. On the bright side, adjusted EPS came in at $1.27 compared to the $1 the Street had estimated, and the company upped its EPS forecast to a range of $3.30-$3.50.

Now what: This is sort of the same story we're seeing with a lot of IT-based companies: planning for the future while suffering in the present. Many, like Computer Sciences, are working to control their expenses during this transition to a recurring revenue model, but it means little if any top-line growth in the meantime. While I feel Computer Sciences' management has the right idea, I'd rather wait patiently on the sidelines until we have more momentum on the revenue side of the business.

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