Oracle Corporation (ticker: ORCL) stock was flying higher by 9 percent on Thursday after the company reported impressive fiscal fourth quarter growth in its cloud services divisions. Oracle reported earnings and revenue beats for the quarter, but Wall Street's focus is on whether strength in the company's cloud services business is cyclical or secular. Oracle reported non-GAAP earnings per share of 89 cents on revenue of $10.9 billion, topping consensus analyst estimates of 78 cents and $10.45 billion, respectively. Non-GAAP EPS was up Dell Helpline Number 10 percent from a year ago, and the company said it expects earnings growth to accelerate in fiscal 2018. The cloud is the ticket to the future for many former hardware providers like Oracle. A day after impressive cloud computing growth sent Adobe Systems (ADBE) stock to new all-time highs, Oracle reported 58.4 percent growth in total cloud revenue. Revenue from Oracle's hardware business declined 13.2 percent in the quarter.
"In the coming year, I expect more of our big customers to migrate their Oracle databases and database applications to the Oracle Cloud," CTO Larry Ellison says. Ellison also said Oracle "sold more than $2 billion in cloud annually recurring revenue" in the quarter. The big question for long-term investors is whether Oracle's strong quarter is a sign of long-term growth ahead or simply a short-term phenomenon.
Edward Jones analyst Josh Olson says Oracle seems to have entered a new era. "After several years of struggling to find its footing in cloud, Oracle seems to have turned the corner and heads into its fiscal 2018 with significant momentum," Olson says. Deutsche Bank analyst Karl Keirstead says Oracle still has a lot to prove. "If what we're seeing is partly an [Enterprise License Agreement] renewal flush given pent-up demand, this could be temporary, and for the on-premise vendors, we need to be cautious about extrapolating too linearly from recent results," Keirstead says.
Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss says it will be difficult for Oracle to deliver double-digit earnings growth in 2018. "More moderate declines in license revenues and a sequential rebound in support revenues raises our revenue forecast for FY18 to 3.2 percent growth, however, we still find the full-year double-digit EPS growth target to be aggressive," Weiss says.