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Tableau's sales rose 65% year
over year to $159 million. Analysts wanted $141 million. Earnings increased 40% to $0.07 per share. The Street view called for $0.05 per share. Management also raised full-year revenue guidance by 3%, exceeding then-current analyst targets by a hair. Bad data?
So let's see here... Tableau
beat analyst estimates across the board, showing fantastic growth everywhere. The company also raised guidance to complete the classic "beat-and-raise" trope. All that, and shares still plunged 14% the next day? What does it take to impress people in this town? Tough crowd tonight, eh?
That being said, Tableau shares
had doubled during the 52 weeks leading up to this report. Even after this crash, the stock still trades at a lofty 166 times trailing earnings. The stock was priced for absolute perfection. What it delivered in the second quarter was great but not perfect. The earnings surprise was smaller than usual, dadgummit! Some investors took profits, others just lost faith in Tableau's growth story. These things happen. Quick correction
The trigger event is, of
course, much the same. VASCO's second quarter didn't measure up to lofty expectations. Sales rose 37% year over year to $65.4 million, edging past the Street's $64.7 million target. Earnings more than doubled to $0.35 per share, $0.07 ahead of the analyst consensus. However, management didn't raise guidance targets. Instead, they reiterated existing revenue guidance, and analysts had already crowded their estimates near the top end of that $230 million to $240 million range. Look out below! Here comes a 23% single-day plunge! What's going on?
Like Tableau, VASCO came into
this week's report on a full head of steam. However, share prices had already been reduced to 24% below recent highs, as the company's anti-fraud products were found to have been sold to Iranian customers. Today, VASCO shares trade at 19 times trailing earnings. Last December, the P/E ratio stood at more than 47 times trailing earnings. Did VASCO deserve this quick conversion from market-darling growth stock to shunned value play? I don't see it. There's still plenty of rocket fuel left in VASCO's growth engines. Another knee-jerk overreaction
Sure, Yelp fell on disappointing
quarterly results, just like VASCO and Tableau did. But there was no mysterious overreaction to fundamentally impressive results this time. On the bright side, second-quarter sales jumped 51% above the year-ago result, landing at $134 million. That was just ahead of analyst estimates. But on the bottom line, Wall Street wanted earnings of $0.01 per share, down from $0.04 per share a year ago. Instead, Yelp reported a $0.02 net loss per share. What's different this time?
The hyper-local advertising expert also
issued disappointing full- year revenue guidance. And that's still not all. In a conference call with analysts, Yelp CFO Robert Krolik admitted that he's having a hard time hiring qualified salespeople -- a serious problem for a company that lives and dies by its sales force. Moreover, advertisers are sliding away from Yelp's service, increasingly preferring other online marketing platforms. And in the end, none of these doom-and-gloom data points are terribly surprising. Yelp has been showing symptoms of poor user loyalty for a while now, and the stock has responded by falling 52% in 2015. No mercy rule
If VASCO and Tableau look
like misunderstood growth stories right now, then Yelp is more like a broken business model that's reaching its operating limits. The stock may have fallen dramatically in recent quarters, but Yelp still trades for 99 times trailing earnings. Yelp's growth engines are running out of steam, and investors have adjusted the stock price accordingly. In the long run, I would not be surprised at all if Yelp's shares drop all the way to zero value. At best, some larger social networking operator might buy out the company at a steep discount to current prices. In my book, there's simply no way the Yelp story ends well. The final chapter?