Shares of Oracle, the biggest enterprise software developer, fell more than 15 percent Wednesday after the company missed second-quarter estimates for earnings.
Oracle was at $25.01 in late morning, down 14.1 percent from Tuesday, when the value of the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software giant was $147.2 billion. The decline lowered its value to $126 billion.
The company headed by CEO Larry Ellison said per-share earnings were 54 cents a share, 2 cents below the 56 cent to 58 cent range carried by Zacks and ThomsonReuters. The estimates generally followed company guidance.
The Oracle decline shaved more than $5.3 billion from the net worth of Ellison, 67, who founded what was called Oracle Systems in 1977 and built it into the world's second-largest software company. Ellison's 1.13 billion shares are the equivalent of 22.4 percent of the outstanding shares, according to the proxy for Oracle's Oct. 11, 2001 annual meeting.
Oracle's second-quarter revenue was $8.8 billion, up 2 percent but below the expected range between $8.92 billion and $9.27 billion. Last quarter, Oracle earned 46 cents a share on revenue of $8.4 billion, nearly 11 percent above the 2010 figure.
Co-president Safra Catz blamed reluctance of customers to close deals late into November, when Oracle's quarter ended. She also issued a lackluster forecast for the current quarter, about level earnings as well as revenue.
This quarter was not as we thought it would be, she told investors Tuesday night. Oracle shares, which had closed at $29.17, fell nearly 9 percent, after the results were announced.
On a net basis, Oracle said second-quarter net income rose 17 percent to $2.19 billion, or 43 cents a diluted share.
The Oracle miss also led to a rout in other technology stocks including its rivals in enterprise software and databases. Hewlett-Packard shares fell nearly 3 percent, IBM shares were off nearly 4 percent and ADRs of German arch-rival SAP plunged more than 6 percent.
Overall, U.S. markets fell about one half percent in late morning. The S&P 500 was at 1,235.40, down 0.48 percent.
Analysts trimmed forecasts for Oracle's second half of fiscal 2012. Jefferies' Ross MacMillan maintained his buy rating and kept his third-quarter earnings estimate at 57 cents a share, as suggested by Catz, but saw gains to 78 cents in the fourth quarter. His price target for Oracle is $36.
Cannacord Genuity's Richard Davis downgraded Oracle shares from buy to hold because it will have to rebuild confidence and slashed his price target to $28 from $38.
Other firms that downgraded Oracle shares Wednesday included Societe Generale and Credit Agricole; UBS maintained the shares as a 'buy.
Oracle's gross margins fell to 64.6 percent from 67.7 percent a year ago, although the company said operating margins were satisfactory at 45 percent. Because it acquired Sun Microsystems for $7.8 billion in 2010, the company is selling more servers than before.
Ellison said he was confident sales would escalate into the second half of the company's fiscal year because of the shift to cloud computing and the mix of Oracle's software and the new servers.
Oracle also said its cash and investments rose to $31 billion, from about $28 billion in the first quarter. The company acquired Endeca Software for a reported $900 million in the quarter and announced a bid for RightNow Technologies of Bozeman, Mt., for about $1.5 billion. Oracle executives didn't discuss future acquisitions with investors.