Oracle shares dive after severe third-quarter miss; analysts cut views

Oracle Corp's shares sank more than 8 percent on Thursday a day after the company reported sharply disappointing third-quarter new software revenue, which it blamed on poor sales execution

The severe miss, reported after the market close on Wednesday, triggered a series of price-target cuts from Wall Street.

The stock was on track for its largest single-day loss since December 2011, when it also reported disappointing quarterly results. The shares were down 8.2 percent at $32.83 at midday.

Credit Agricole reduced its rating on Oracle, the world's No. 3 software maker, to "underperform" from "outperform" and cut its share target price to $35 from $38. Evercore Partners cut its rating to "equal-weight" from "overweight."

Other brokerages, including Wedbush, Stifel and RBC, reduced their price targets but maintained their recommendations.

The company, which is battling fast-growing rivals like Salesforce and Workday in the field of Internet-based software services, on Wednesday reported a 2 percent slip in new software sales and Internet-based subscriptions. Analysts had on average projected a gain of 8 percent.

The company forecast that new software license sales, a key indicator of future revenue, will rise 1 percent to 11 percent this quarter. It warned that revenue from its ailing hardware business will continue to shrink significantly.

(Editing by Leslie Adler)