Shares of business data company Zebra Technologies Corp. (ZBRA 2.88%) jumped as much as 14% in trading Tuesday after reporting third-quarter earnings. At 3:55 p.m. EST shares were still up 13.1% on the day.
Net sales fell 1.3% in the quarter to $904 million and net loss increased from $29 million to $83 million, or $1.61 per share. On a non-GAAP basis, which analysts' usually compare their estimates to, earnings were $1.43 per share, $0.02 ahead of estimates. Management also said they paid off $90 million in debt during the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, management said non-GAAP earnings per share would be between $1.65 and $1.85. That's on the high end of the $1.72 estimate from Wall Street.
Zebra Technologies' business was negatively impacted from the divestiture of its wireless LAN business, so the business wasn't actually in decline last quarter. But it's also not growing much either and is losing money on a GAAP basis.
The massive adjustments being made to turn a large GAAP loss into a non-GAAP profit is also a little concerning. And when added to the slow growth and weak bottom-line results, this isn't a stock I will be buying today.