Why Align Technology Shares Popped

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 Align Technology (NASDAQ: ALGN  )  -- maker of the Invisalign dental aligner, as well as various CAD/CAM software -- jumped as much as 12% after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter results.

So what: On the heels of strong sales of Invisalign, Align reported an 11% increase in year-over-year sales to $142.8 million, and an adjusted profit of $0.27. Both figures sailed past Wall Street's expectations, which had called for $134.7 million in sales and only $0.22 in EPS. Looking toward the first-quarter, Align is forecasting that it'll sell 95,000 to 97,500 Invisalign cases and will earn $0.21-$0.23 on $146 million to $150 million in revenue. Compared to the current consensus estimate, Align's sales forecast is ahead by more than $1 million on the low end, however, it fell well short of the $0.26 in expected EPS.

Now what: Having worked in the dental industry previously (albeit a long time ago), I can tell you how fickle the spending habits of consumers can be if the economy isn't booming. Consumers will simply put off cosmetic dental work, including something as simple as a clear dental aligner, until their financial situation improves. A removal of the payroll tax holiday and a negative fourth-quarter GDP are enough reason for me to remain skeptical about the health of the dental lab sector and its suppliers like Align Technology for the time being.

Craving more input? Start by adding Align Technology to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

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