Why Brinks Had its Armor Pierced Today

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 Brinks (NYSE: BCO  ) are slowly climbing back out of the 11% hole that the company fell into this morning, and now stand at a slightly less awful 7% loss. The company's earnings report underwhelmed the Street, which had sought more on the bottom line.

So what: This was Brinks' third straight earnings miss and, although fourth-quarter earnings per share of $0.60 represented an improvement over both the year-ago and prior quarters, it still came in $0.06 below the analyst consensus. Brinks' $1 billion in fourth-quarter revenue was a hair ahead of the $999.2 million that analysts sought -- so close, that it's essentially a hit target. Brinks offered full-year guidance for organic revenue growth in the range of 7% to 9% over 2012's results, which works out to a range of $4.11 billion to $4.19 billion -- well ahead of the consensus $3.98 billion. However, the company did not give much in the way of EPS guidance for the current year, which is never encouraged by the number-crunchers on the Street.

Now what: Brinks has just finished divesting some operations in France and Morocco, and is now looking to get out of businesses in Germany and Poland. If the company's next step is to get out of Japan and Russia, we'll have a clean sweep of the major battlegrounds of World War II!

On a more serious note, this is a relatively minor pullback for a stock that's spent the past year digging itself out of the much deeper hole it fell into exactly a year ago. Refocusing on more profitable operations is a step in the right direction, but it may take a few quarters to see the results where it matters. Since Brinks' P/E ratio is still closer to its highs than its lows for the past few years, I'd stay on the sidelines, and keep looking for a better rationale for investing than a simple earnings-driven drop.

Want more news and updates? Add Brinks to your Watchlist now.


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