(ORCL) Oracle Earnings Typically Efficient

After the closing bell Thursday, Oracle Corp. (ORCL) beat earnings and revenue estimates for the company’s fiscal 4th quarter of 2011. Earnings of 75 cents per share easily beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 69 cents, and revenues in the quarter totaled $10.8 billion, topping the $10.76 billion expected.

A tidy but solid outperformance is customary for Oracle, and its 4th quarter positive earnings surprise of 8.7% is also a 26.3% improvement year over year. Analysts had largely steered clear of estimate revisions over the past 30 days — again, quite typically — and Oracle’s earnings beat also topped The Street’s “whisper number” of 72 cents per share.

Oracle posted 48% operating margin for the quarter. The company brought in $3.7 billion in new software licenses, $4 billion in support revenue and $1.2 billion in hardware — all healthy numbers for the #2 database and enterprise software company behind Microsoft (MSFT).

Guidance is normally given during the course of the earnings conference call, and this will likely push the near-term direction in ORCL shares. Oracle finished the normal trading day up 24 cents per share (+0.75%) to $32.44, but shares have taken a hit in the after-market. Currently, ORCL is down roughly $2 per share, or over 6%. We will take the time to analyze whether this is a reflection of fiscal 1st quarter guidance and/or related to the still-ongoing integration of Sun Microsystems, which Oracle purchased in January of last year.

Oracle Corp. currently has a Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) and is supported by a longer-term Outperform recommendation. The 6-month target price on Oracle is $41 per share.

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