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 Affymetrix (NASDAQ:AFFX), a life science tools and molecular diagnostic manufacturer, dipped as much as 17% after the company reported its fourth quarter earnings results after the bell last night.

So what: For the quarter, Affymetrix delivered a 10% increase in year over year revenue to $92.6 million as adjusted profits improved to $0.02 per share on a 5% increase in gross margin to 59%, reversing a $0.02 per share year-ago net loss. By comparison, though, Wall Street had been expecting only $91 million in revenue, but was looking for a more robust $0.07 in fourth-quarter EPS.

Now what: This has pretty much been the story with Affymetrix for as long as my mind can recall. Namely, plenty of promise on paper, but an inability to deliver bottom-line growth on any consistent basis. Thus far, it appears Affymetrix's purchase of eBioscience is aiding revenue growth nicely, but not providing the profitable impact that many shareholders had hoped for. Once again, on paper Affymetrix makes a world of sense given that baby boomers are aging and the push toward using genetic tests to personalize medical treatments is only likely to gain steam in the coming years. However, a tough spending environment perpetuated by funding cuts from the U.S. government and Affymetrix's inability to really trim its costs any further make it a somewhat expensive gamble here even following today's drop.

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Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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