Why Harman 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 Harman International (NYSE: HAR  ) were blasting higher today, gaining as much as 14% after the audio entertainment specialist bumped up its full-year forecast in its quarterly report.

So what: The owner of JBL and other brands said revenue dropped 3% on a slow European car market, to $1.06 billion, while adjusted earnings per share fell all the way from $2.38 a year ago, to $0.79, but that still easily cleared analyst expectations at $0.61. More importantly, after sharply cutting back its full-year projection in its last quarterly report, Harman bumped it up to $3 a share from $2.70-$2.90. The speaker maker also said it will begin a five-year cost-cutting program to shift jobs from Europe and America to lower-cost developing countries.

Now what: The forecast bump is encouraging, but that essentially comes from this quarter's earnings beat, and Harman still has some headwinds ahead of it. Sales to German carmakers make up 43% of Harman's revenue, with the rest of Europe contributing another 20%, and European carmakers have reported lower earnings so far this season as the continent is still struggling to put the debt crisis in the rearview window. Cost-cutting may help boost profits, but I'd be happier seeing top-line growth.

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