The darkening skies of fall have certainly descended upon the earnings season as reports from many large-cap technology names have investors seeking shelter. Among the thickening clouds, Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ: RVBD) managed to bring a few rays of sunshine that warmed the hearts of shareholders. After the close on Thursday, the San Francisco-based company released third-quarter financial results that exceeded the forecasts of Wall Street analysts. For the quarter, the company earned $0.28 per share minus certain items, which beat the consensus of analysts by three pennies. Revenues increased by 15% in year-over-year comparisons to $218.6 million, which also topped analysts’ expectations.
Perhaps just as important as the third-quarter earnings was what Jerry Kennelly, CEO of Riverbed Technology, said about the near future. According to Kennelly, Riverbed Technology enters the new quarter on solid ground across all business verticals. He also added that management was “encouraged for the end of the year”. For the fourth quarter, the company gave an earnings guidance of $0.29 per share, or a penny higher than the average view of analysts.
Adding fuel to the fire, several investment houses raised their price targets on the stock. R.W. Baird moved its target to $28.00 from $22.00 and it has an “overweight” rating on the stock. BMO Capital increased its projected price on Riverbed Technology share by $3.00 to $23.00. Ironically, the analyst at Citi downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “buy” on Tuesday and kept its $23.00 price target.
Buy orders swamped the sellers at the opening of the market this morning and shares jumped $2.00 higher than the closing price on Thursday to start the final day of the trading week at $22.69. Buyers continued to push share prices upward in the morning to an intraday high of $23.72, even though volume waned throughout the day. After the lunch hour on the east coast, the stock slowly retreated form its peak. When the closing bell rang, Riverbed Technology stock ended the day at $23.06 for a gain of over 11%. The number of shares traded on the day amounted to 17.13 million compared to an average daily volume of 3.84 shares.
The price action today capped off a three-month run that has seen share prices rise almost 75% from an annual low of $13.30. The climb started in July when the company issued third quarter guidance in line with analysts’ expectations. The twelve-month high for the stock occurred in late January when shares traded for $30.73. On April 19, Riverbed Technology warned investors that second-quarter results would come in below previous guidance, which caused the stock to drop by almost 33%. Investors and traders will have the weekend to decide if today’s heavy-volume positive gap means even more to the upside.
A majority of the 39 analysts covering the stock have a rating of “hold”. Before today’s upgrades, the consensus price target stood at $22.20.
Riverbed Technology develops solutions associated with information technology performance across wide area networks (WAN). The company’s premier Steelhead products allow customers to increase transmission speeds by up to 100 times. The company is located in San Francisco, California, and was founded in 2002.
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