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Why is Pure Storage (PSTG) Up 5.6% Since Its Last Earnings Report?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Pure Storage, Inc. (PSTG - Free Report) . Shares have added about 5.6% in that time frame.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is PSTG due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Recent Earnings

Pure Storage Inc. reported non-GAAP loss of 7 cents per share in the first quarter of fiscal 2019, which was narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5 cents. The figure was also below the year-ago loss of 12 cents per share.

Total revenues surged 40.1% from the year-ago quarter to $255.9 million, marginally ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $253 million. Revenues outpaced the mid-point of the guided range by 2.4%.

The narrower loss and revenues beat are positives for Pure Storage. Moreover, per IDC MarketScape: Worldwide All-Flash Array 2017 Vendor Assessment report, the company leads in the space on the back of its robust all-flash and NVMe portfolio, keeping NetApp, Dell EMC and Hewlett Packard Enterprise behind.

Notably, the company has adopted the new revenue rules of ASC 606. It has incorporated both ASC 605 and ASC 606 calculations while reporting the first-quarter results.

Segmental Details

In the first quarter, Product revenues (represented 76.4% of total revenues) of $195.5 million surged 36.8% on a year-over-year basis, primarily driven by “strong repeat business” from existing customers and continued expansion of customer base.

Non-GAAP Product gross margin was 65.7%, down 130 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis due to FlashBlade’s increased contribution to revenues.

The company’s strong product portfolio including the likes of FlashArray, FlashStack and FlashBlade business segments drove year-over-year growth.

Cisco’s tie-up with the company’s FlashStack continues to significantly accelerate overall converged infrastructure and integrated systems markets. FlashStack is well-positioned for the future as the company continues to invest with its partners in full stack automation and simplicity.

The company’s data platform for cloud is gaining traction. However, intensifying competition owing to the presence of major players such as Amazon’s Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) and Microsoft’s Azure in cloud storage remains a concern.

Support subscription revenues (23.6%) of $60.5 million increased a notable 52% on a year-over-year basis driven by the company’s ongoing support contracts.

Non-GAAP Support subscription gross margins were 66.3%, up 420 bps on a year-over-year basis. Management stated that margins were driven by a continued increase in amortization of ongoing support contracts and impressive execution in support organization.
During the quarter, Pure Storage added more than 300 new customers, bringing the total base to 4800 organizations and reflecting a year-over-year increase of 45%. Management remains elated on strong growth witnessed in Global 2000, big government organizations and healthcare companies as well as leading 1000 cloud vendors.

Geographically, the United States comprised 72% of total revenues while the remaining 28% came from international market. The quarter witnessed growth in APJ and EMEA, which surpassed the company’s growth rate.

Quarter Highlights

Management is optimistic about scalable storage solutions in an era when the world is typically being driven by big-data, artificial intelligence (“AI”) and data analytics-based information.

Pure Storage continues to focus on three major aspects, namely increasing cloud customer base, solidifying the position of its next generation workload related core data infrastructure and tapping large enterprises as they “cloudify” their on-premise IT infrastructure.

Nevertheless, management remains positive regarding the company’s partner ecosystem, which assisted it in winning a multimillion dollar deal with a prominent financial services institution.

Pure Storage extended partnership with NVIDIA, a dominant player in AI related computation, to furnish AIRI, a comprehensive AI-ready infrastructure.

Notably, AIRI aided Paige AI to remove the data bottleneck which consequently enabled pathologists with accelerated diagnosis of cancer.

Operating Details

Non-GAAP gross margin came in at 66.3% down 10 bps from the year-ago quarter.

Pure Storage reported non-GAAP operating loss of $15.3 million narrower than loss of $25.3 million in the year-ago quarter. The year-over-year improvement was due to the company’s sustained focus on improving operational efficiency.

Balance Sheet & Cash Flow

Pure Storage exited the quarter ended Apr 30, 2018 with cash and cash equivalents, and marketable securities of $1.1 billion up from $597.8 million in the previous quarter.

Non-GAAP free cash flow without employee stock purchase plan (ESPP) impact for the quarter ended Apr 30, 2018 was reported at $8.6 million, compared with $17.4 million reported in the year-ago quarter.

Guidance

Pure Storage expects second-quarter fiscal 2019 revenues in the range of $296-$304 million. Non-GAAP gross margin is anticipated to be in the range of 63.5-66.5%. Non-GAAP operating margin is projected to be in the range of (7%) to (3%).

For fiscal 2019, management revised anticipated revenue range marginally from the initial range of $1.31-$1.36 billion to $1.32-$1.37 billion.

However, management reiterated the remaining guidance. Non-GAAP gross margin is projected to be in the range of 63.5-66.5%. Non-GAAP operating margin is anticipated to be in the range of 0-4%.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

Analysts were quiet during the last two month period as none of them issued any earnings estimate revisions.

VGM Scores

At this time, PSTG has a strong Growth Score of A, a grade with the same score on the momentum front. However, the stock was allocated a grade of F on the value side, putting it in the fifth quintile for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of C. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Zacks style scores indicate that the company's stock is suitable for growth and momentum investors.

Outlook

PSTG has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.




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