Why RPC, Inc.'s Shares Plunged Today

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 oil-field service company RPC  (NYSE: RES  ) fell as much as 12% today after reporting earnings.

So what: Revenue was up 3.6% from a year ago to $487 million, coming in ahead of estimate, but earnings weren't as positive. Net income dropped 32% to $37.6 million, or $0.17 per share, which was five cents below estimates.  

Now what: Demand for services was strong in the fourth quarter but pricing was lower than expected and led to the drop in profits. The good news is that natural gas prices are up recently and that should help push demand for rigs higher in North America. While the quarter fell short of estimates, I think there's a lot of upside in 2014 as drilling activity picks up.

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