Red Hat Missed Guidance Isn't That Bad
Red Hat's stock gained about 10% from a year ago and remains in a bullish trend. Red Hat's CEO James Whitehurst announced passing of the billion-dollar mark in annual revenue.
While part of the weakness looking forward is blamed on the strong dollar and economy, investors need to know that this is what happens when you invest in a company with a price-to-earnings ratio that takes over half a century in earnings to pay for a share (PE of 50). At least most of the market cap losses appear to be baked in the cake at this point.
Stocks with a price-to-earnings ratio over 20 have historically underperformed the market. Does this mean you should not invest in growth companies sporting multiples above 20? No; however, it does mean when you consider an investment such as Red Hat, you better be ready for a bumpy ride. Wednesday's fall was more turbulence than a shifting sentiment in the company or management.
Oracle's(ORCL) recent earnings release was met with tempered enthusiasm and price appreciation. Everyone (except of course Red Hat) loves Microsoft(MSFT) again after displaying the new Surface laptop/tablet/gizmo. Even with trumpets blaring for the Surface, the Internet is where everything is happening, and where there is Internet, there is Linux.
Where there is Linux, there is Red Hat making sure pages are served quickly and correctly. (Read my article Microsoft's Impressive Product Still Needs Perfect Execution.)
Based on my experience with gap downs following guidance similar to Red Hat, investors will likely see the short-term low Thursday or Friday. With Wednesday's closing price of $56.50 and after hours trading closing near $51, more downside pressure probably won't last long.
Bargain hunters and the few short sellers covering positions could push the price up over $52 by the end of the month. Looking at the chart, I expect short-term resistance near $55. Round numbers often attract like a price magnet and repel, causing a bounce.
Expect a lot of volume to trade near $50 a share Thursday, but also be prepared for bargain hunters to start positions under $49 as an entry.