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 Itron, (NASDAQ:ITRI) dropped more than 15% Thursday after the company released disappointing fourth-quarter results.
So what: Quarterly revenue came in at $524 million, which translated to adjusted earnings of $0.36 per diluted share. Analysts, on average, were looking for earnings of $0.75 per share on sales of $526.95 million.
In addition, Itron expects full year 2014 revenue between $1.825 billion and $1.925 billion, with adjusted earnings per share between $1.30 and $1.80. By contrast, analysts were looking for earnings of $2.95 per share on sales of $2.07 billion.
Now what: Itron's adjusted results did include a $0.36-per-share charge for a discrete tax item, so the bottom-line miss there isn't all that alarming. But that still doesn't help appease concerns over Itron's guidance, which management suggested is the result of "a tough economy and global marketplace."
Even so, CEO Philip Mezey insists the company is well positioned to compete in its market, saying, "Despite a more conservative outlook, I am encouraged by the progress of our ongoing efforts to improve financial performance and build a solid foundation for future growth and profitability."
Taking the midpoint of Itron's own guidance, however, the stock doesn't look particularly cheap even after today's drop with a forward P/E around 27. As a result, I think Itron shares still have plenty of downside left before the market can seriously consider it as an appealing long-term investment.
Looking for more stability?
In the meantime, why not put your money to work in something a bit more predictable? But where should you look? Well, one of the dirty secrets that few finance professionals will openly admit is the fact that dividend stocks as a group handily outperform their non-dividend-paying brethren. The reasons for this are too numerous to list here, but you can rest assured that it's true. However, knowing this is only half the battle. The other half is identifying which dividend stocks in particular are the best. With this in mind, our top analysts put together a free list of nine high-yielding stocks that should be in every income investor's portfolio. To learn the identity of these stocks instantly and for free, all you have to do is click here now.
Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned, and neither does The Motley Fool. 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.