Why General Cable Corporation'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 cable-product maker General Cable Corporation (NYSE: BGC  ) fell 10% today after reporting first-quarter results.

So what: Net sales fell 3% from a year ago, to $1.43 billion, and total operating loss was an incredible $237 million, or $6.42 per share. On an adjusted basis, the company lost $0.05 per share, which was better than the estimated $0.09 loss, but the actual loss was shocking. 

Now what: The loss was driven by the writedown of the company's Phelps Dodge International business, as well as a loss related to assets in Venezuela. A rapid adjustment in Venezuela's exchange rate has hit companies with operations there hard, and this is another example of the fallout. Those two items are likely only one-time items, but the adjusted loss is still concerning. I'd like to see General Cable prove it can return to a normal operating level before jumping in.

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