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Why LivePerson Shares Got Clobbered Today

What happened

Shares of LivePerson (NASDAQ: LPSN) have gotten clobbered today, down by 11% as of 11:15 a.m. EDT, after the company reported third-quarter earnings. The results beat expectations, but shares had nearly doubled year to date so investors may have been pricing in even loftier expectations. LivePerson also said CFO Dan Murphy would be resigning in early 2018.

So what

Revenue in the third quarter totaled $56.5 million, beating both the consensus estimate of $54.6 million as well as the high end of LivePerson's own guidance of $54 million to $55 million. That all translated into non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.05, which was right on target with the $0.05 per share in adjusted profit that analysts were modeling for.

Image source: Getty Images.

LivePerson signed 76 deals during the quarter and added 30 new customers, including a large insurance company and a multinational finance company.

Now what

"We are excited to see LivePerson return to year-over-year growth two quarters ahead of schedule," said CEO Rob LoCascio in a statement. "For the past several quarters, we have been sharing healthy growth metrics around LiveEngage, and highlighting messaging adoption in key industries such as financial services, telecommunications and travel. It is rewarding to now see those data points reflected in our reported financial results. This is a significant milestone for LivePerson that coincides with the completion of our transition to LiveEngage, an industry leading platform that is transforming how brands engage with consumers."

Murphy's resignation could be rattling investors since CFO departures are never a good thing, but there don't appear to be any nefarious reasons for the resignation. LivePerson raised its guidance for 2017, and now expects revenue for the full year to be in the range of $217.5 million to $218.5 million, up from its prior forecast of $213 million to $216 million. Sales in the fourth quarter should be $56 million to $57 million, with adjusted earnings per share of breakeven to $0.01.

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Evan Niu, CFA has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends LivePerson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.