A downbeat new research note from Goldman Sachs said software companies’ performance may be similar to the 2001-2002 downturn.
Analyst Sarah Friar didn’t mention Microsoft in the note to investors, but lowered her estimates for covered enterprise software companies below the average among other Wall Street analysts, saying, “we believe Street consensus estimates remain too high in software.”
“Given the likelihood of economic contraction in 2009, we continue to seek to take a proactive approach to reducing our estimates to more of a ‘downside’ scenario for next year in order to establish a dependable baseline from which we can better evaluate investment opportunities.We believe Street estimates for software remain too high While it is difficult to forecast for the out-year given the massive
uncertainties facing today’s marketplace, a look at software company performance in the prior economic downturn (2001-2002) offers some high-level direction …. We believe license revenue declines in 2009 are a possibility and, in many cases, likely, while maintenance growth should decelerate but remain relatively resilient. The net result is likely to be flattish to modest total revenue growth (i.e., low to mid-single digits) for the average mature software company in CY2009. We believe Street consensus estimates remain too high — post our latest estimate revisions, we stand significantly below the Street at 6% earnings growth in CY2009, down from 8% prior, and below the Street at 10%.”
She didn’t analyze Microsoft in the note, but lowered her forecast for Oracle.