Uncharacteristically, tech behemoth Oracle Corp. ( ORCL ) has badly missed earnings estimates today after the closing bell. Reporting lower sales for both hardware and software, Oracle reported earnings of 43 cents (54 cents minus one-time items) per share on revenues of $8.8 billion in the company's fiscal second quarter of 2012. The Zacks Consensus Estimates were for 55 cents per share and $9.23 billion in revenues.
In other words, not good. Oracle shares have plummeted in the aftermath of the earnings announcement, falling 9% after a respectable gain of roughly 2% in regular Tuesday trading. This not only marks the first negative earnings surprise in at least the past 5 quarters, but Oracle's average earnings beat over the previous four quarters had been by 7%.
What had been typical was the relative lack of estimate revisions leading up to the quarterly report. Only one analyst had lowered his or her estimate for the quarter over the past 30 days, and the original consensus estimate from 90 days ago had only been bumped up a penny.
New software sales, which had been projected to be in the 6-16% range by Oracle during its conference call last quarter, only reached 2%. Overall profits in the quarter were $2.2 billion.
Currently, Oracle shares have fallen to their lowest levels since the crevasse opened up back in August. Prior to this, one would have to go back to 2009 in order to find ORCL stock so cheap. Thus, instead of a "Santa Claus Rally," investors are giving Larry Ellison and company a big ol' lump of coal.