With its transition to a cloud-based, subscription-sales business model in full swing, Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) ended fiscal 2017 in style. New model subscriptions, a key metric, grew 26% in the fourth quarter to 1.09 million, up 227,000 from a year ago.

Revenue of $479 million for the quarter was down 26% year over year, which was to be expected given that it shift to an annual recurring revenue (ARR) model means it no longer reports the entire value of sales up front, but rather pro rates them over the year. Consensus estimates were for revenue of $476 million and non-GAAP (excluding one-time items) earnings per share of negative $0.33. Autodesk reported a loss of $0.28 a share.

The stock opened trading Friday down nearly 2%, however, due to its guidance for the current quarter. Interim co-CEOs Amar Hanspal and Andrew Anagnost -- who took the reins following the recent departure of longtime chief Carl Bass -- expect revenue of between $460 million to $480 million in 2018's first quarter and a non-GAAP loss of $0.27 to $0.21 per share.

The 18 analysts following Autodesk have forecast $496.65 million in sales and only $0.13 per-share loss. Those revenue expectations, which in turn impact per-share results, seem awfully aggressive since its revenues a year-ago were $511.9 million. Expectations of a 3% year-over-year drop in revenue, considering the aforementioned transformation Autodesk is in the midst of, are a bit much to ask. Which may help explain why Autodesk stock is already inching its way back up.


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Tim Brugger has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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