DocuSign stock has lost its pandemic gains, and is plunging again after weak forecast

The pandemic gains for DocuSign Inc. shares have already disappeared, and the stock is still moving lower.

DocuSign
DOCU,
-4.25%
shares sank more than 15% in after-hours trading Thursday, following an earnings report that included a weaker-than-expected forecast for the new fiscal year. The stock has closed this week at its lowest prices since April 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic produced a spike in demand for the online-signature technology at the heart of the San Francisco software company’s business.

The downfall of stocks that spiked throughout the pandemic as their services became more needed has been a theme in recent months, as companies such as videoconferencing specialist Zoom Video Communications Inc.
ZM,
-5.27%
and at-home fitness company Peloton Interactive Inc.
PTON,
-3.54%.
The problems have often not been in the results provided, but the forecasts for slowing growth as the threat of COVID-19 dissipates and people resume activities in ways they did before the virus invaded their lives.

Docusign’s results fit that pattern. The company easily topped analysts’ expectations for the fourth quarter with Thursday afternoon’s report, detailing a loss of $30.45 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $564 million, up from $410.2 million a year ago. Billings, which reflects committed revenue that has not yet been recognized, hit $670.1 million. After adjusting for stock-based compensation and other effects, the company reported earnings of 48 cents a share, up from 37 cents a share a year ago and on the nose with analysts’ estimates. Analysts on average were expecting adjusted earnings of 48 cents a share on sales of $562 million and billings of $654.1 million.

“In fiscal 2022, we grew revenues by 45% and billings by 37% year-over-year, while generating record operating and cash flow margins,” Chief Executive Dan Springer said in a statement. “While the year unfolded differently than expected, we are proud of the ongoing…

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