Slowdown Catches Up With Oracle

Oracle shares tumbled in after-hours trading Wednesday after the company’s sales came in below Wall Street estimates.

Oracle’s non-GAAP earnings of 30 cents a share, or $1.6 billion, met Wall Street estimates. Sales rose a healthy 21% from the year-ago quarter to $5.35 billion, but that was less than the $5.42 billion that analysts were looking for, according to Thomson Financial.

New software license sales rose 16% to $1.6 billion, but that was at the low end of estimates. Database and middleware new license sales were up 20% and applications license sales up 7%.

Customers “got a little more cautious” at the end of the quarter, according to CFO Safra Catz, but President Charles Phillips said the slowdown may have already passed.

Still, the company’s guidance was pretty solid at 14-18% growth for the current quarter, compared to 14.5% estimates. Oracle expects to close the acquisition of BEA this quarter.

Oracle shares fell 7% in late trading to $19.50.

Stocks fell during the day on financial sector downgrades and weaker than expected durable orders and new home sales.

Rambus was a standout, soaring 39% on a big memory patent case win.

Motorola climbed 2.7% on plans to split in two.

Jabil tumbled 18% on its results.

Google, Apple and Research In Motion bucked the downtrend, but Cisco shares fell 4%.

The Nasdaq fell 16 to 2324, the S&P lost 11 to 1341, and the Dow fell 109 to 12,422. Volume declined to 3.93 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.94 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 19-14 margin on the NYSE, and 16-12 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 68% on the NYSE, and 71% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 25-26 on the NYSE, and 37-93 on the Nasdaq.

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