Why Itron Shares Plunged

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 electricity, gas, and water meter specialist Itron (Nasdaq: ITRI  ) sank as much as 10% today after its quarterly results and guidance missed Wall Street expectations.

So what: Itron's third-quarter EPS managed to beat estimates, but a big whiff on the top-line -- revenue of $504 million versus the consensus of $523 million -- coupled with downbeat guidance for the full year reinforces concerns over its exposure to the weak U.S. economy. However, gross margin did improve significantly to 34.1% from 28.8% in the year-ago period, suggesting that the company is at least improving its cost structure.

Now what: Management now sees full-year adjusted EPS of $3.60 to $3.80 on revenue of $2.1 billion to $2.15 billion -- below the average analyst estimate of $3.85 and $2.17 billion, respectively. "While the macro environment may be challenging in the near term," said CEO LeRoy Nosbaum, "I'm very encouraged with our progress on operating efficiencies, pace of product development and our competitive position in the field."

With the stock now off about 25% from its 52-week high and trading at a forward P/E of 10, betting on that turnaround talk might not be a bad idea.

Interested in more info on Itron? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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