What: Shares of data analysis software specialist Tableau Software (NYSE:DATA) surged 16% higher in May, according to S&P Capital IQ data, closing the month at $113.21. The lift happened in a single burst, powered by a fantastic first-quarter earnings report.
So what: Tableau delivered 75% year-over-year sales growth, leaving analyst estimates far behind. On the bottom line, the company followed up with $0.08 of positive non-generally accepted accounting principles earnings per share; analysts had expected a $0.03 loss per share. Management also issued optimistic guidance for the second quarter, driven by growing customer awareness of Tableau's product lines and accelerated hiring in the company's sales and marketing operations.
Now what: The company has yet to miss an earnings estimate in its young publicly traded life, and often delivers adjusted profit when analysts are looking for a net loss. Tableau is riding a wave of strong demand for data analysis tools, as people and corporations the world over strive to make sense out of increasingly huge and complicated data sets. Like larger rival TIBCO Software, Tableau's graphical presentation tools can pull actionable business conclusions out of data sets far too large for traditional analysis tools.
Looking ahead, Tableau is poised to benefit as the Internet of Things megatrend rises, giving investors a stable platform for continued long-term growth. On the other hand, spectacular growth is already priced into the stock, which now trades for a staggering 5,500 times trailing earnings and 174 times forward earnings estimates. In other words, buyer beware even if Tableau's torrential growth continues apace.