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C3.ai stock plummets after forecast disappoints

Artificial intelligence software developer C3.ai (AI) reported fourth quarter results after the bell on Wednesday, beating expectations on the top and bottom lines but offering a forecast that disappointed Wall Street expectations.

The company reported first quarter revenues of $72.4 million, more than the $71 million expected on an adjusted loss per share of $0.13, less than the $0.17 loss analysts had expected.

C3.ai's full-year revenue outlook, however, appeared to come in shy of Wall Street expectations. The company said it expects revenue for its fiscal year 2024 to be between $295-$320 million; data from S&P Global Market Intelligence showed analysts were looking for revenues closer to $321 million for the full year.

And after AI plays like Nvidia (NVDA) and Marvell Technology (MRVL) last week significantly raised their forecasts on a surge in demand, investors appear to be harshly judging C3.ai, with the stock down more than 15% in early trading Thursday.

"We believe it is generally agreed today that the market for enterprise AI applications is substantially larger and growing at a much greater growth rate than experts predicted," the company said in a statement.

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"C3 AI has been at the vanguard of the enterprise AI market for over a decade as that market has developed from its roots in IoT, to unsupervised learning, supervised learning, NLP, deep learning, reinforcement learning, and now generative AI."

Despite those assurances, though, investors weren't impressed with C3.ai's outlook.

AI is the hottest trend on Wall Street, as companies ranging from Nvidia (NVDA) and Marvell (MRVL) to Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG, GOOGL) ride the hype wave that kicked off with the launch of ChatGPT in 2022.

And while shares of AI darling Nvidia are up 162% since the start of 2023, C3.ai's stock is up a whopping 252%.

C3.ai produces enterprise AI software used by a wide range of industries including transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing. On Tuesday, the firm announced that its own C3 Generative AI product is available via Amazon's AWS marketplace. It is already available via Google's Cloud Marketplace.

UKRAINE - 2021/02/01: In this photo illustration a C3.ai, Inc. logo is seen displayed on a smartphone screen. (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
C3.ai reported Q4 earnings after the bell Wednesday. (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (SOPA Images via Getty Images)

Unlike generative AI platforms like ChatGPT, C3.ai's offering is specifically designed for enterprise settings. To that end it allows users to access corporate data via a natural language interface while preventing users from accidentally sharing that information with the outside world.

Daniel Howley is the tech editor at Yahoo Finance. He's been covering the tech industry since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @DanielHowley.

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