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: Sometimes life just isn't fair. More than two months ago, investors in Dole Food (Nasdaq: DOLE ) were treated to a quick 10% pop in profits as their shares spiked on no news whatsoever. This morning, investors in archrival Fresh Del Monte (NYSE: FDP ) are "enjoying" a 10% drop in stock price -- thanks to earnings that underwhelmed the Street.
So what: Fresh Del Monte blamed the quarter's poor results (sales down 6%, causing a $0.16 per-share loss, versus $0.44 profit a year ago) on two items: lower selling prices for its bananas in Middle Eastern and Asian markets, and bad weather in Central America, which hurt the pineapple crop.
Now what: The banana news is especially troubling, as it's Fresh Del Monte's biggest revenue segment. News of lower selling prices also bodes ill for upcoming earnings reports from Chiquita (NYSE: CQB ) (due out tomorrow) and Dole (three weeks from now). It's less worrisome for canned fruit vendor Del Monte Foods (NYSE: DLM ) , which reports Thursday. Unsurprisingly, Chiquita and Dole shares are slumping on Fresh Del Monte's news, while Del Monte Foods' stock looks shelf-stable.
As for Fresh Del Monte, while the 10 times free cash flow valuation today looks tempting, analysts are forecasting only 7% long-term growth for the company. I'd suggest you wait a few days and see how bad the damage gets before deciding whether this piece of bruised fruit is a bargain.
Want to keep closer track of Fresh Del Monte ups and downs? Stock it in your pantry right now.