Why Manitowoc Shares Dropped

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  ) were getting rocked today, falling as much as 12% after missing estimates in its quarterly earnings report.

So what: The construction and food-service equipment maker posted earnings per share of just $0.09, on expectations of $0.14. Revenue increased 4.4%, to $898 million, missing estimates by 1.4%. CEO Glen Tellock acknowledged "some pockets of macroeconomic weakness," but was still positive about the quarter, in general. Manitowoc's crane segment led the sales growth with an increase of 7.8%, while its food service segment saw revenue grow just 2% and operating profits fall 3.7%. Management blamed the lower margins on "investments in manufacturing strategies, differences in pension expenses, and product mix." Guidance was roughly in line with estimates.

Now what: Considering the first quarter is Manitowoc's slowest, the stock seems to be getting punished a bit excessively for the earnings miss. Manitowoc is highly sensitive to the macroeconomic environment, especially durable goods spending, and the miss could be evidence that the economy was slower than expected last quarter, as the GDP report confirmed. I wouldn't extrapolate any long-term weakness based on today's report.

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