Why Rocket Fuel Inc Shares Crashed Hard

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 digital advertising technologist Rocket Fuel Inc (NASDAQ: FUEL  ) plummeted 25% today after its current-quarter outlook missed Wall Street expectations.

So what: The stock has been crushed in 2014 on signs of slowing growth, and today's downbeat outlook only reinforces those concerns. While Rocket Fuel's Q1 adjusted loss of $0.18 managed to top estimates on a revenue surge of 95%, Mr. Market's reaction suggests that it isn't growing fast enough to justify its seemingly lofty forward P/E.

Now what: Management now sees Q2 revenue of $88 million to $92 million, well below the average analyst estimate of $101.8 million. "Ongoing investment in our proprietary technology platform and our global team helped drive continued strong growth in the first quarter," said CFO J. Peter Bardwick. "We are reiterating our 2014 guidance as we expect revenue growth in the latter half of the year to increase slightly from our expected Q2 growth rate due to a number of factors, including the impact of recent sales hiring and expanded offerings that enhance our current product suite." More importantly, with Rocket Fuel boasting a rock-solid balance sheet and its stock now off a whopping 70% from its 52-week highs, the downside might finally be limited enough to bet on it.

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