Why Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. Shares Crumbled 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 Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: KTOS  ) fell nearly 12% during Wednesday's intraday trading, then recovered to close down around 5% after the company released mixed fourth-quarter results and light forward revenue guidance.

So what: Quarterly revenue fell 10.6% to $235.7 million, which translated to pro forma earnings from continuing operations of $0.06 per share. Analysts, on average, were looking for earnings of $0.06 per share on significantly higher sales of $251.73 milion.

For the full year 2014, Kratos expects revenue of $920 million to $980 million, the midpoint of which also stands below analysts' expectations for 2014 sales of $972.03 million.

Now what: Keep in mind that on a GAAP basis, Kratos reported a $0.13 per share loss. However, Kratos insists reporting pro forma earnings per share as a "meaningful metric" to determine the company's performance, especially given its historical tendency to grow through acquisitions. To be sure, despite its lack of GAAP profitability for now, investors can take some comfort in knowing Kratos expects to generate free cash flow of $25 million to $40 million this year.

With shares currently trading below 0.5 times last year's sales and a reasonable 15 times this year's estimated earnings, today's drop might just prove a decent buying opportunity for patient long-term investors.

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