December 3, 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: Shares of candle and household decor specialist Blyth (NYSE: BTH ) were snuffed out by investors today, losing more than 11% in intraday trading.
So what: Today it was Blyth's turn to step to the mic and announce earnings results from its most recent quarter, and the numbers actually looked pretty good. Sales of $215 million and earnings per share of $0.31 were both well ahead of what Wall Street was looking for. But who cares? Blyth is a highly seasonal business, and the first three quarters of the year are very small compared to the fourth quarter -- and it sounds like the fourth quarter isn't going to be all that great. Blyth also announced that despite the strong third-quarter results, it's dropping its full-year earnings-per-share guidance to a range of $2.80 to $3.00 from a range of $3.05 to $3.35. That smarts.
Now what: While many businesses are starting to see the glimmer of economic recovery show up on their bottom line, it doesn't appear that Blyth is among them. Management blamed the economy on struggles in its PartyLite direct-selling business and also noted that commodity costs are taking a bite out of profits. Looking ahead, investors will want to keep an eye on what the company is able to do about PartyLite, as that segment makes up a majority of Blyth's business.
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