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 specialty materials and chemical maker Ferro
So what: Revenue fell 18% in the fourth quarter to $443 million and fell short of the $467.3 million analysts had expected. The company also posted a much bigger loss of $0.33 per share, which fell to $0.08 per share when you strip out one-time items, but that was still double the loss analysts expected.
Now what: Lower volumes in the company's solar paste business were the big driver of lower demand, and I'm not confident that that business will return. Solar installations were strong again last year, and as manufacturers cut costs, Ferro appears to be a loser in the materials business. Management is also expecting flat sales for 2012, so I'm not going to jump on this bandwagon until I see sales and profits trending in the right direction.
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