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Why Zebra Technologies Corp's Shares Popped 14% Today

By Travis Hoium – Nov 15, 2016 at 12:05PM

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A better than expected earnings report pushed shares higher, but there's more than meets the eye.

Image source: Getty Images.

What happened

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.

So what

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.

Now what

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.

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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