Image source: Accuray Incorporated.

What: After reporting fiscal fourth-quarter financial results that were below industry watcher's estimates, shares in Accuray Incorporated (NASDAQ:ARAY) are falling 12.5% as of 2:00 p.m. EDT today.

So what: The maker of machinery used to help doctors remove cancer tumors from patients reported today that second-quarter sales were $95 million, which was $4 million below analysts estimates. The company also said it lost $0.09 per share in the quarter, which was $0.02 worse than industry watchers' outlook.

The disappointing top- and bottom-line results took some of the luster off of other advances the company made in its fiscal year. Specifically, Accuray's backlog grew 8% to $406 million as net orders improved 19% year over year, and its net loss of $25.5 million was far better than the $40.2 million reported a year ago. Management also said its cash position improved to $167 million at the end of the quarter, up $23 million from last year. 

Now what: There appears to be solid demand for the company's CyberKnife system, and it plans to launch a new machine, Radixact, soon that could add sales next year. However, the company's fourth-quarter sales were $7 million lower than they were in the same quarter a year ago, and top- and bottom-line misses are never a reliable way to spark investor optimism.

While healthcare technology companies focusing on cancer care should benefit from demand as the global population is increasingly older and living longer, there's reason to stay on the sidelines on this company.

Accuray offered up fiscal 2017 guidance that only calls for top-line sales growth of between 3% and 5%, and that may not be enough growth to finally turn this company profitable. Until Accuray can consistently demonstrate that it's able to reward shareholders with earnings per share, it may be best to focus on other money-making opportunities. 

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