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Citrix gains, earnings crush first quarter estimates

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Citrix Systems shares jumped to a fresh 16-year high Thursday as the company's first quarter earnings crushed forecasts.

It was the largest beat in a four-quarter streak of better-than-expected profits.

The business software maker earned $1.18 per share, well above the 26 cents consensus estimate. Revenue was also well above estimates. Citrix also raised its full-year 2016 guidance.

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The company is benefiting from both cost cuts and improved software sales. "The progress we made in refocusing the company-simplifying our portfolio and sharpening our message-is starting to pay off," said Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov in the company's press release.

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Analysts' comments around the quarter have been mostly upbeat, with as many as 11 brokerage firms raising price targets on the stock on Thursday. Mizuho analyst Abhey Lamba said in a note that cost restructuring was a big factor behind Citrix's much better results.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank analyst Karl Keirstead views Citrix's 2016 guidance as conservative. He said in a note to investors, "In spite of a strong top-line beat, CTXS guided conservatively, citing (as it usually does) lumpiness in the NetScaler business."

The stock closed up more than 4 percent on Thursday following the earnings beat. Shares have gained 11 percent so far this year.