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Why Asana Shares Crashed Last Month

What happened

Shares of Asana (NYSE: ASAN) fell 28.3% in December, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The maker of cloud-based work management and team collaboration tools posted strong third-quarter results early in the month, but the stock was priced for absolute perfection at the time. The resulting market correction was swift and sharp.

So what

Asana's third-quarter sales rose 70% year over year to $100.3 million, exceeding the top end of management's guidance range by $6.3 million. Adjusted net losses decreased from $0.34 to $0.23 per share. Here, guidance had pointed to a net loss of at least $0.26 per share. Your average Wall Street analyst would have settled for a net loss of $0.26 per share on top-line revenue near $93.7 million.

The company fired on all cylinders in the third quarter. Asana's robust sales growth included revenue doubling in the crucial category of deals worth more than $5,000 per year. Customers renewing their agreements tended to grow the number of licenses and include more tools in their renegotiated deals.

That's all good news, but it wasn't enough to support Asana's skyrocketing stock price -- especially during a marketwide rotation out of growth stocks and into lower-risk investments, driven by a spike in inflation metrics. The stock headed into December's report at a vertigo-inducing 88 times trailing sales, and it's nigh-on impossible to sustain ultra-rich valuation ratios of that caliber.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

The company addresses a massive target market and has found plenty of traction for its long-term growth ambition. That's a recipe for sustained hypergrowth, which explains the sky-high valuation. Simply put, profits can wait a few years as Asana invests every spare penny into accelerated research, marketing, and support services. It's all about grabbing market share and boosting the company's top-line growth for the foreseeable future.

The sudden plunge lowered Asana's price-to-sales ratio to 34, which makes the stock much more accessible for new investors. All told, Asana's shares now trade 60% below November's 52-week highs.

At these reduced prices (which are still lofty, mind you), investors with a taste for high-octane growth stocks and software-as-a-service operations should take a closer look at Asana.

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Anders Bylund has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Asana, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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