Can Oracle Earnings Really Keep the Tech Rally Going?

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Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) is set to report its second-quarter earnings after the market closes Wednesday. Thomson Reuters has consensus estimates of $0.68 in earnings per share and $9.52 billion in revenue. The second quarter from the previous year had $0.69 in earnings per share and $9.28 billion in revenue.

During the current quarter, Oracle made a huge change when the company announced that CEO Larry Ellison had been named the company’s executive chairman and chief technical officer, and Safra Catz and Mark Hurd have both been promoted to CEO. All manufacturing, finance and legal functions will continue to report to Oracle CEO Catz. All sales, service and vertical industry global business units will continue to report to Oracle CEO Hurd. All software and hardware engineering functions will continue to report to Oracle Chairman and CTO Ellison.

Ellison has been a member of Oracle’s board since 1977. He owns 25% of the company’s shares. While he may not own 51% of the company, control of a quarter of Oracle’s shares qualifies as a level of leverage that is beyond any reasonable challenge.

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In the press release about the changes, Ellison said:

Safra and Mark will now report to the Oracle Board rather than to me. All the other reporting relationships will remain unchanged. The three of us have been working well together for the last several years, and we plan to continue working together for the foreseeable future. Keeping this management team in place has always been a top priority of mine.

A few key analyst firms weighed in on Oracle’s position recently:

  • Morgan Stanley raised shares of Oracle to an Overweight rating from Equal Weight and moved its price target up to $50 from $45, on December 15.
  • Piper Jaffray initiated coverage with a Neutral rating and a price target of $44 on December 12.
  • J.P. Morgan initiated coverage with an Underweight rating and a price target of $38 on December 2.

Shares of Oracle were up over 3% at $41.35 in the second half of Monday’s trading day. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $43.53 and a 52-week trading range of $33.35 to $43.19.

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