Why Shares of FTI Consulting, Inc. 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 advisory firm FTI Consulting, (NYSE: FCN  ) fell 15% today after reporting earnings.

So what: Fourth-quarter revenue rose 4.2% to $416 million and came in ahead of the $402.4 million estimate from analysts. On the bottom line, earnings of $0.49 per share was also $0.05 ahead of estimates, but guidance for the first quarter was for earnings of $0.20-$0.28 per share, well below the $0.58 analysts expected.  

Now what: This is the classic case of a company beating estimates but guiding lower than expected and the stock dropping like a rock. Next year's guidance compares to $0.59 per share in earnings in the first quarter of 2013, so profits are expected to be down significantly. This flies in the face of management's glowing appraisal of the business to end 2013 and the weak outlook would keep me out of the stock today.

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