Peoplesoft?s shares crashed 20 per cent today to 18 13/16 amid widespread fears that the applications supplier?s third quarter figures would be below analysts? expectations.
The slump occurred for the second time this month after it emerged that Peoplesoft had pulled out of an investment conference hosted by BT Alex Brown due to be held later this week.
The firm?s stock also fell 25 per cent on 2 October over concern that it was facing poor software license sales due to increasing competitive pressure from rivals such as SAP.
A spokesman at Peoplesoft said: "Since it?s our quiet period, I can?t respond with our normal candour about our earnings volatility. However, we respectfully withdrew from the conference because we could not give the markets any more information as we are in our quiet period, but we?ll announce our figures on 24 October."
But industry watchers on the Silicon Investor bulletin board were sceptical. One said: "I can?t totally buy that explanation. Why did it book itself into the conference in the first place? It?s not like it didn?t know this was its quiet period."
Another argued: "Most companies continue with investment conferences even in quiet periods. When a company pulls out of the gathering, some investors interpret that as a sign that the company has bad news that it wants to hide. And it may not be earnings they are hiding. More likely, it has to do with forward projections of sales and embarrassing questions that force them to compare themselves with SAP."
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