Investors can be a finicky bunch, as highlighted by the reaction to “solid” third-quarter fiscal 2018 results from Red Hat that failed to generate excitement on Wall Street.
Red Hat’s stock was trading down around 6 percent early Wednesday, at about $121 per share, following the release of its latest earnings report. Those results included most metrics at or above forecasts.
Revenues increased 21.5 percent year-over-year to $748 million for the quarter, which was ahead of the consensus forecast of around $735 million. Net income surged a more impressive 49 percent to $101.3 million, or $0.54 per share, which also beat forecasts.
Red Hat CFO Eric Shander noted the company struck 94 deals worth more than $1 million during the third quarter. Of those, 17 were in excess of $5 million, with one of those valued in excess of $20 million. Shander said those deals involved companies in the financial services, technology and media, retail, energy, and transportation verticals.
However, analysts pointed out that Red Hat’s stock was coming off a 52-week high, which hinted that investors were looking for a bit more leading up to the earnings release.
“Our take is that [Red Hat’s] results were solid across all metrics,” wrote BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman, in a research note. “However, with the stock hovering near the 52-week high, we believe expectations overshadowed strong results.”
Red Hat’s stock has indeed been on a trading high, at one point hitting more than $130 per share just last week. The stock is also trading at near double to where it was one year ago.
Looking ahead, Red Hat management said it expects fourth-quarter revenues of between $758 million and $763 million, with GAAP-compliant earnings per share of $0.54.
Red Hat has become a significant player with its OpenShift product for enterprises looking to migrate workloads into container platforms.
However, during the question-and-answer period on the company’s quarterly conference call, CEO and President Jim Whitehurst said that while it’s seeing a lot of interest in the use of containers, actual deployments remain muted.
“What I would say is virtually every major company that we are working with is building a strategy around containers, and they are starting to work due to new app-dev [with] at least a portion of that on containers, with the intention as long-term the majority of their new app-dev will be on containers,” Whitehurst said, according to transcripts. “That said, the majority of applications running right now were written more than a year ago. And so the vast majority, probably 90 percent of our enterprise customers, are starting to deploy containers. But it is a very small percentage of their workloads today because new applications are still a small percentage.”
Red Hat last month released the latest iteration of its OpenShift Container Platform sporting tighter integration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its own OpenShift Ansible Broker for provisioning and managing services.
Brian Gracely, director of product strategy for OpenShift at Red Hat, noted the company plans to move early next year on releasing tighter integration with Microsoft Azure. Red Hat in August announced plans for native support for Windows Server containers for use on OpenShift.