Earnings season is winding down, with most companies already having reported their quarterly results. But there are still some companies left to report, and Oracle is about to release its quarterly earnings report. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarter reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed, knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

Oracle doesn't have the same widespread notoriety that more consumer-facing companies have, but the business software giant has built itself back up from the tech bust to stand as an enduring presence in the tech industry. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Oracle over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Wednesday.

Stats on Oracle

 

 

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.66

Change From Year-Ago EPS

6.5%

Revenue Estimate

$9.38 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

3.6%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

3


Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Are stronger results in the cards for Oracle this quarter?
Analysts have gotten slightly more optimistic about Oracle lately, keeping their calls for the just-ended fiscal quarter constant but raising their fiscal 2013 full-year estimates up by more than a nickel per share. The stock has also reflected that enthusiasm, rising 14% since mid-December.

Oracle once dominated the landscape in enterprise software, as it offered the must-have package that the biggest corporate customers wanted for their businesses. Over the years, competitors have made big moves in the space, but Oracle nevertheless has a reputation for quality that makes it the go-to choice for new and repeat customers.

Still, Oracle has seen the need to broaden its focus to become a more all-inclusive tech solutions provider. Its purchase of Sun Microsystems more than three years ago allowed Oracle to integrate software and hardware into a single package for its customers. More recently, its proposed buyout of Acme Packet seeks to do the same thing for networking, giving Oracle access to a Acme product that will allow its enterprise clients to handle 200,000 simultaneous calls.

Most experts believe that Oracle's purchase of Acme is driven by the desire to attack Cisco Systems , which has been doing its own share of trying to move beyond its networking roots to incorporate cloud-related elements. Yet despite its strategic shifts lately, Cisco still seems more interested in defending its networking turf than in going up against Oracle directly. Similarly, Oracle should see its more direct competitors as a bigger threat, especially as IBM and other peers have taken their own steps to broaden their scope across the industry.

In its quarterly report, watch for Oracle to give more information about the status of and reasoning behind the Acme Packet buyout. What happens with this key acquisition will define the future path for Oracle for years to come.

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The article Oracle Earnings: An Early Look originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Acme Packet and Cisco Systems. It owns shares of IBM and Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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