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Why Cepheid Shares Are Climbing

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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 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD  ) have gained 14% today after the company bested analyst expectations on both top and bottom lines for its fiscal fourth quarter.

So what: Cepheid had been expected to post revenue of $102.2 million and a loss of $0.11 per share for the quarter; instead, the molecular diagnostics company trounced both estimates by reporting a 22% year-over-year gain in revenue to $113.3 million and adjusted earnings of $0.03 per share. The company's generally accepted accounting principles net loss was $0.15 per share for the quarter, but $0.06 of that was the result of a one-time restructuring charge. Cepheid's full-year guidance also impressed the Street by coming in ahead of expectations.

Now what: Cepheid now expects full-year revenue for 2014 in the range of $446 million-$461 million range, while adjusted EPS is expected to fall between $0.24 and $0.29 per share. The company also expects a GAAP net loss of between $0.26 and $0.21 per share for the year, but the adjusted number is what analysts were looking at most closely, and it compares quite favorably to the $0.01 EPS consensus.

The company's top line is certainly growing -- its 2014 guidance midpoint is 13% higher than 2013's full-year revenue of $401.3 million -- but it hasn't proven that it can be profitable without accounting tricks. In addition, its annual free cash flow loss of $32.5 million was much worse than its annual net loss of $18 million. It's also worth pointing out that the midpoint of revenue guidance predicts a lower growth rate than 2013's 17% growth rate from 2012. There's a lot of hope and hype around Cepheid right now, but the numbers don't seem to support its valuation. I'd hang back for the time being.

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Alex Planes

Alex Planes specializes in the deep analysis of tech, energy, and retail companies, with a particular focus on the ways new or proposed technologies can (and will) shape the future. He is also a dedicated student of financial and business history, often drawing on major events from the past to help readers better understand what's happening today and what might happen tomorrow.

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8/28/2015 4:00 PM
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Cepheid CAPS Rating: **