Why Ameresco Inc's Shares 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 energy efficiency solution company Ameresco Inc (NYSE: AMRC  ) fell 18% today after reporting earnings.

So what: Fourth-quarter revenue rose 12% to $176.1 million and slightly exceeded analysts' expectations. But net income fell from $5.1 million a year ago to $1.6 million last quarter, which, at $0.03 per share, was well below the $0.21 estimate.  

Now what: Management blamed a mix of low-margin projects for the earnings miss, and it looks like that will continue in 2014. Management expects just $7 million to $12 million in net income, which, at most, would be $0.26 per share, well below the $0.35 estimate. The low margins are certainly disappointing, and a highly competitive market with little competitive advantage will keep me out of shares today.

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