Why Harsco 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 Harsco Corporation (NYSE: HSC  ) were getting off track today, falling as much as 10% after reporting second-quarter earnings.

So what: The engineering and industrial-services provider came up short on the bottom line, delivering an earnings per share of $0.30, below estimates of $0.34. Revenues, however, were better than expected, but still declined 1.4%, to $760 million, beating expectations of $751.9 million. Management cited macroeconomic challenges in its Metals & Minerals business in the report, and said it had planned changes to its operating model in order to create more shareholder value. Revenue in Metals & Minerals, its biggest segment, dropped 8%, and the company's outlook wasn't promising either, as it expects a 10%-12% sales decline in that segment in the current quarter. Overall, it sees EPS of $0.17-$0.22 in the current period, while the analyst consensus sits at $0.39.

Now what: Metals and mining are in an industrywide down cycle as companies like Alcoa and Caterpillar have also been feeling the pain, and management noted lower steel production volumes as a cause. Demand in that arena should eventually bounce back, but for now, shareholders may have to get used to disappointing quarters, like we just saw. Still, the company's seems focused on optimizing its business and creating shareholder value. I wouldn't dismiss Harsco just yet.  

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