Why National CineMedia Shares Sank

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 digital in-theatre media network National CineMedia (Nasdaq: NCMI  ) plunged 10% today after the company's quarterly results and outlook missed Wall Street expectations.

So what: The stock has been hot over the past year on better-than-expected revenue growth, but today's third-quarter miss -- EPS of $0.30 on revenue of $143.7 million versus the consensus of $0.32 and $145.2 million -- coupled with downbeat guidance for the full year is forcing Mr. Market to sober up. Management blamed an increasingly challenging advertising market for the weak results, triggering concerns that the business model is a lot more vulnerable to the soft economy than previously thought.

Now what: Management now sees full-year 2012 revenue of $445 million to $455 million, well below the average analyst estimate of $464.4 million. "Even with this somewhat softer media marketplace, our national revenue growth for the year is still expected to be strong at 5% to 9%," Chairman and CEO Kurt Hall reassured investors. "We are well positioned to grow in 2013 and beyond as we will have a relatively consistent cost structure for the next few years." With the stock still well above its 52-week lows and trading at a lofty 35-plus P/E, however, I'd wait for a much bigger pullback before buying into those growth prospects.

Interested in more info on National CineMedia? 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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