Oracle Corporation (ORCL) shares finished 2016 up 5.28 percent. That figure lagged against the S&P 500 return of 9.54 percent.

The year was marked by significant competition in the cloud-computing space and a number of deals that weighed on the firm’s balance sheet. The biggest highlight of 2016 for Oracle was its purchase of NetSuite Inc.

The deal generated a significant amount of pushback from institutional investor T. Rowe Price (TROW), which wanted shareholders to hold out for more money. Roughly 53 percent of shareholders in both companies approved the deal by its Nov. 4 deadline. (See also: Oracle to Complete NetSuite Deal on Nov. 7.)

The year was also marked by the company’s sale of $14 billion in bonds. It was the largest-ever investment-grade bond sale in the company’s history and was a large item on its balance sheet.

In its fiscal second quarter, the worlds second-largest software company topped earnings per share expectations. The company reported an EPS of $0.61, beating consensus expectations by a penny. Still, the firm reported $9.0 billion in sales, which fell short of Wall Street forecasts of $9.11 billion.

With the new year in focus, Oracle is looking to continue its remarkable momentum in the cloud computing industry. During the second quarter, the firm reported that cloud-based revenue surged to $1.1 billion, a figure that represented an 81 percent boost compared to the same period in 2015. The company will pay a $0.15 dividend Jan. 3. This will be the eighth consecutive quarter that the company will pay that amount to investors. (See also: 3 Things to Consider Ahead of Oracle Earnings.)

The company finished 2016 with a market capitalization of $156.76 billion and traded at a PE ratio of 18.43. Shares of ORCL stock hit a 52-week high in July at $42.00 per share.

According to, ORCL stock is rated a consensus Moderate Buy. Among the 19 analysts covering the stock, 12 rate the stock a Buy, while six analysts rate it a Hold. On Dec. 21, Mitsubishi UFJ analyst Stephen Bersey initiated coverage of ORCL stock and rated the company a Buy with a price target of $48.00 per share.

The consensus price target is $45.63 per share, a figure that represents 18.98 percent upside from the stock’s closing price Dec. 30. During the final day of trading in 2016, shares fell 0.88 percent and closed at $38.35 per share. (See also: Behind Oracle's 172% Rise in 10 Years.)

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