October 28, 2010
Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Lubrizol (NYSE: LZ ) dropped 11% in intraday trading after today's disappointing earnings release.
So what: Although third-quarter profit for this specialty-chemical company (think driveline lubricants and metalworking fluids) came in 9% higher than the same period last year, that increase was mostly from a one-time tax benefit. With that tax benefit backed out, the company missed analyst earnings estimates, and gross margins fell more than 3 percentage points year over year.
Now what: Although the picture doesn't look quite as rosy as Lubrizol's press release would have us believe, there are a number of positive signs. Volume rose 1% during the quarter, and the company provided raised guidance for the full fiscal year -- $10.35 to $10.55 a share, up from $9.60 to $10 a share. They also expect strong growth over the next few years, predicting earnings of $13.50 a share in 2013. Given that this showed up on my colleague Rex Moore's screen for the Top 10 Values in Chemicals, this dip may provide a great entry point for a stock that's risen nearly 50% in the last year.
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