Progress Software's Shares Dropped: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of enterprise software maker Progress Software (NAS: PRGS) regressed today, falling as much as 12.2% on heavy volume.

So what: The company just reported third-quarter results with surprisingly strong earnings but a bleak outlook for the coming quarter. Management explained that the shaky economy caused several large customers to delay their software orders, thus halting Progress' progress.

Now what: I'd buy that explanation at face value if Progress' rivals were seeing the same transaction pattern develop, but that's not the case. TIBCO Software (NAS: TIBX) and Oracle (NAS: ORCL) recently reported their own equivalent results and outlooks with none of that delay nonsense. IBM (NYS: IBM) will do the same in just a couple of weeks. Granted, all of these competitors are materially larger than Progress, making them less susceptible to uneven performance. Still, I smell execution problems here, and management doesn't want to own up to it.

Interested in more information about Progress Software? Add it to My Watchlist.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Anders Bylundholds no position in any of the companies discussed here. The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines and Oracle. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Tibco Software. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

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