Did Weak Subscriber Growth Sink Adobe Stock After Earnings?

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Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) reported first-quarter fiscal 2015 results after markets closed Tuesday. The software company reported adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.44 on revenue of $1.11 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported adjusted EPS of $0.30 on revenue of $1.0 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.39 and $1.09 billion in revenue.

On a GAAP basis, EPS totaled $0.17 and did not include $0.17 per share in stock-based compensation, $0.07 per share for amortization of purchased intangibles and $0.03 per share for income tax adjustments.

The company’s press release did not offer second-quarter or fiscal year guidance, but the company plans to discuss financial targets on its conference call. The consensus estimates for the second quarter call for EPS of $0.48 on revenues of $1.18 billion. For the full year, analysts are looking for EPS of $2.08 on revenues of $4.88 billion.

For the previous four quarters, EPS has totaled $0.30, $0.37, $0.28 and $036. Revenues have been pretty flat as well. Subscriptions to the firm’s Creative Cloud products rose by 571,000 year-over-year, up 28%. Adobe noted that a record 70% of first-quarter revenues came from recurring sources, up from 52% in the same period last year.

The company’s chief financial officer said:

Fiscal 2015 is off to a strong start, and Q1 revenue and earnings are evidence of successful execution against our strategy.

Adobe repurchased about 2.4 million shares in the first quarter at a cash price of around $174 million. The company does not pay a dividend.

The sharp drop in Tuesday’s after-hours trading session likely indicates that analysts were expecting even better news on subscription rates. The company’s shares traded down around 3% in after-hours trading, at $76.99, in a 52-week range of $57.15 to $80.30. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $84.70 before these latest results were announced.

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