Why Itron, Inc. Stock 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 Itron (NASDAQ: ITRI  ) fell 10% Monday after Bank of America analyst Andrew Hughes downgraded the stock from "buy" to "underperform."

So what: Hughes also lowered his per-share price target for Itron from $40 to $39. To explain the move, he cited both expected first-half 2014 vendor announcements for global smart meter rollouts, which didn't materialize, and "new competitive threats enabled by the rapid growth in distributed solar generation."

Now what: On the surface, Itron does look reasonably priced trading at just 0.8 times trailing 12-month sales, and 15.8 times next year's estimated earnings. But considering Itron management has long made no secret of the difficult global marketplace in which their company currently operates, I'm perfectly happy continuing to watch this one from the sidelines.

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