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Why Proofpoint, Inc. Shares Popped

By Steve Symington – Jan 31, 2014 at 7:34PM

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Is Proofpoint's jump meaningful? Or just another movement?

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 Proofpoint, (PFPT) jumped nearly 11% Friday after the company's fourth-quarter results topped expectations.

So what: Quarterly sales rose 43%, to $40.8 million, which translated to an adjusted loss of $0.07 per share. By contrast, analysts were expecting a wider loss of $0.12 per share on sales of just $35.72 million. Meanwhile, Q4 billings arrived at $48.9 million, or an increase of 33% year over year.

In addition, Proofpoint expects full-year 2014 revenue in the range of $174.5 million to $176.5 million, with billings of $203 million to $205 million and an adjusted loss per share of $0.53 to $0.48. By comparison, Wall Street was modeling a 2014 loss of $0.29 per share on lower sales of $165.5 million.

Now what: The forward earnings miss might sound bad, but management blamed the discrepancy on plans to increase investments in both sales and R&D to "capitalize on the weakening competitive environment" in their fast-growing market. What's more, management also insists that, while losses will widen in the first part of 2014, they're expected to narrow over the course of the year, with a goal of breakeven results in the fourth quarter.

In the end, I can't blame investors for bidding shares up today. If Proofpoint can deliver on its promise in 2014, the stock could still be a bargain even after this pop.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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