Why Manitowoc 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 Manitowoc (NYSE: MTW  ) have shed much of their early pop this morning, and have settled into a 5% gain, after topping out with over 10% gains an hour and a half into the trading day. The Street seems to appreciate the company's double beat on both top and bottom lines, but vague forward guidance seems to have somewhat tempered the market's early optimism.

So what: Manitowoc reported revenue of $1.13 billion for the quarter, up 10% year over year, and ahead of the $1.09 that analysts expected. Its top line also came in ahead of expectations, with $0.27 in adjusted earnings per share beating the consensus by $0.03. The company gave only vague estimates on a segment-by-segment revenue basis for 2013: Crane revenue will grow in the high single-digit percentage range, while crane operating margins will also be in the high single digits, and foodservice revenue will grow in a mid-single-digit percentage range, while that segment's operating margins will be in the mid-teen percentage range.

Now what: Two hard numbers were offered for 2013 that should help investors. Manitowoc plans to eliminate over $200 million in debt, while its combined capital expenditures ($100 million) and interest expense ($125 million) will be about $225 million -- slightly ahead of this year's combined $210 million expense. That's entirely due to the capital expenditures, which indicate Manitowoc's commitment to healthy growth. The company is moving in the right direction, so today's positive report should be a good motivator to take a closer look.

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