Shares of Overstock.com (Nasdaq: OSTK ) tumbled this morning after posting mixed second-quarter results.
On the upbeat front, the company posted its fourth consecutive quarter of positive cash flow. Its reported loss of $0.28 a share was roughly half of the fiscal shortcoming from a year ago. Revenue climbed by a better than expected 27% to $188.8 million, and gross margins punched in at an all-time high of 18.1%.
The bad news? Well, all of that top-line growth -- and then some -- came as a result of fulfillment partner revenue. Direct revenue actually fell during the period. The company's customer acquisition costs also climbed, fueled by a 79% spike in sales and marketing expenses.
Lay out the news on opposing sides of a seesaw and the good news is still the chubby kid on the ground. So why is Overstock tumbling?
Well, keep in mind that shares of the online discounter had nearly tripled off its March lows heading into this morning's report. Expectations were high. Simply bleeding as much as Mr. Market was expecting isn't good enough.
Overstock may have come a long way in recent months, but its shares have traveled even further. Just as Big Lots (NYSE: BIG ) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) are holding up well in a sea of penny-pinching patrons, Overstock -- with its closeout prices and subsidized shipping promotions -- is supposed to be a bottle rocket.
Thrifty buyers in cyberspace can turn to eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY ) for secondhand bargains or scour Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) for the deepest deals, but cut-rate pricing is Overstock's selling point throughout its categories. Even if the dip in direct revenue is a result of the site emphasizing partner sales, investors were winding the shares too hard, and expecting too much.
Overstock recently stopped selling furs in its virtual storefront, but investors need to be the ones growing thick skins when they see stocks outpace the fundamentals in the near-term.
Apart from the stock's gyrations, this is a respectable report. If shareholders complain that the stock has merely doubled -- instead of nearly tripled -- since March's bottom, they need to get out a bit more. It's a scary world out there, furry beasts and all.
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