S1 Corp.'s stock fell for a second day in a row Wednesday as analysts downgraded their recommendations in anticipation of its breaking even later than expected - in the second or third quarter of 2001 rather than the fourth quarter of this year.
On Tuesday, the Atlanta company reported a second-quarter net loss of $153 million, or $2.82 per share, compared with $2.2 million, or 8 cents per share, the year earlier. Analysts had expected a loss of $2.74 per share.
Most alarming to analysts was a bleak forward-looking revenue statement in the earnings report by S1's chief financial officer, Robert F. Stockwell. "As we focus on maintaining our leadership position in the account aggregation and the large domestic financial institution spaces, the existing pricing pressures could have a future impact on revenues and gross margins," wrote Mr. Stockwell.
S1's stock price fell 29% Tuesday, to $18.125, and another 15.8% Wednesday, to $15.25.
Analysts said S1's account aggregation unit, Vertical One, is facing increased competition, putting pressure on earnings. "The company is facing considerable pricing competition related to its Vertical One solution," said Glenn Greene, vice president and a senior analyst at ABN Amro. "We anticipate that it will become more aggressive on pricing, which could limit the near-term revenue growth for Vertical One." Mr. Greene downgraded S1 to "hold."
Andrew Collins, a senior analyst at ING Barings, also downgraded his recommendation. "We saw the statement as a warning signal and downgraded it from a 'strong buy' to a 'buy.'"