Why Silver Spring Networks Inc's Shares Soared

By Markets Fool.com

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.

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What: Shares of Silver Spring Networks were up by more than 17% today despite the company's release of an underwhelming fourth-quarter earnings report on Monday evening. The market seems to be excited for Silver Spring's new opportunities in the Internet of Things, as there's no way to explain today's pop on a purely fundamental basis.

So what: Silver Spring earned $0.03 per share on an adjusted basis on $70.4 million in revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter, which compares somewhat poorly to Wall Street's expectationsfor $0.03 in adjusted EPS on $76.2 million in revenue. For the full year, Silver Spring's GAAP revenue fell 41% to $191.3 million (the company also reported $276.7 million in non-GAAP revenue), and its adjusted lossof $0.50 per share was far steeper than last year's loss of just $0.08 per share.

Looking ahead, Silver Spring expects to lose anywhere from $0.12 to $0.16 per share on $56 million to $62 million in non-GAAP revenuefor the first quarter of 2015. Full-year adjusted earnings are expected to reach breakeven on non-GAAP revenue in the range of $270 million to $290 million. Not one of these guidance ranges comes close to what Wall Street had expected -- analysts were expecting $0.01 in adjusted EPS on $74.3 million in sales for the first quarter, and were looking for Silver Spring to earn $0.17 in adjusted EPS for the full fiscal year on $315.6 million in full-year revenue.

Silver Spring also announced that it would workwith NextEra Energy subsidiary Florida Power & Light to connect up to 500,000 street lights to a smart grid, up from 75,000 lights connected under a previous agreement. The company will also work with Exelon's Baltimore Gas & Electric and other large regional utility providers on networked street light projects. Silver Spring also talked up its Internet of Things initiativesduring yesterday's earnings call, highlighting its newly released Milli 5wireless node as an opportunity for further growth.

Now what: Opportunities or not, it seems strange that Silver Spring's shares have leapt so much higher today when the company missed both Wall Street's fourth-quarter targets and badly undershot analyst estimates for 2015. Silver Spring executives talked up their "strong" operating cash flow for 2014 during their earnings call, but the company's report actually highlighted negative operating cash flow to the tune of $8.8 million, which was brought even lower by $12.3 million in capital expenditures. The company expects "positive" cash flow in 2015, but that's a vague projection and is undermined by weak bottom-line guidance as well.

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It's possible that the market simply wanted to take a breather after enduring a wretched slide that's destroyed half of Silver Spring's market cap over the past year. However, that doesn't make sense of today's move. I'd keep my distance for the time being.

The article Why Silver Spring Networks Inc's Shares Soared originally appeared on Fool.com.

Alex Planes has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Exelon. 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 has a disclosure policy.