Acuity Brands Shares Popped: What You Need to Know

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 lighting solutions company Acuity Brands (NYSE: AYI  ) are shining bright, up 11% today, following the company's first-quarter earnings results.

So what: Acuity, which hasn't exactly been lighting up analyst estimates lately (it missed in three of its past four quarters), easily galloped past Wall Street's expectations. For the quarter, Acuity earned $0.74 on $474.3 million in sales. This compares to the Street's consensus forecast of $0.67 on $463.5 million in sales. Acuity cited its ability to raise prices during the quarter to offset rising expenses as the reason for the strong results.

Now what: This is indeed a solid quarter for Acuity, but hardly what I would call a reason to rush out and buy the stock. Acuity CEO Vernon Nagel cautioned investors that "we anticipate ongoing volatility in both customer demand and commodity costs," and warned that its second-quarter results could be affected by inventory rebalancing from its customers. The company also took a $2.7 million charge this quarter related to severance packages and alluded that more layoffs may be necessary throughout the year. Even with Acuity reconfirming growth in the low-to-mid single digits, there are enough questionable figures here and in its recent earnings history for me to pass on the stock -- especially after today's run-up.

Craving more input? Start by adding Acuity Brands to your free and personalized watchlist to keep up on the latest news with the company.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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