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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 ePlus (NASDAQ: PLUS ) have fallen as much as 10% today, and now sit at a 7% loss, following a third-quarter report that failed to live up to investor expectations for reasons that are hard to extrapolate.
So what: ePlus reported an 8% year-over-year increase in quarterly revenue, to $242.0 million, and a 3.3% increase in earnings, to $9.0 million. However, as a result of the company's December $2.50-per-share special dividend, diluted earnings per share fell to $1.05 against $1.07 per share the year before. This is the only true negative in the report (except for the possibility of shrinking margins), as ePlus maintains a higher cash balance of $42.2 million in its latest quarter, against the $33.8 million it held a year ago, in spite of the special dividend. Net income for the first three quarters of ePlus' fiscal 2013 increased 45%, nearly doubling either its 23.1% increase in revenue or its 22.1% increase in costs and expenses. The company also completed a number of projects early, which boosted deferred revenue significantly over the year-ago period.
Now what: There aren't any obvious negatives on the surface of this earnings report. Is Wall Street worried about the lack of issued guidance? Maybe it should start issuing its own guidance -- at present, no analysts cover this stock. Is the higher level of deferred revenue going to hurt ePlus' margins in the fourth quarter? The reasons for this drop are murky, which means that it might be time to take a closer look at this growing stock with the low 11.7 P/E.
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