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Why Best Buy Co. Inc. Fell Today

By Anders Bylund - Mar 1, 2017 at 4:13PM

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The retailer's fourth-quarter report was a mixed bag, and investors chose to focus on the disappointing parts of it.

What happened

Shares of Best Buy (BBY 2.42%) fell as much as 5.6% on Wednesday, erasing more than $700 million of market value at the bottom of the trough.

So what

The electronics and home appliances retailer reported earnings early this morning, covering the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017. Bottom-line earnings came in above analyst expectations in spite of disappointing revenues. First-quarter guidance targets also fell below Wall Street's models, making it easier to focus on Best Buy's poor numbers while shrugging off the good news.

Woman choosing among cell phones in a store.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

In an effort to divert attention away from the revenue issues, Best Buy also tripled its share buyback program and kicked up the dividend policy with a 21% boost. CFO Corie Barry also took pains to remind investors that quarterly results can vary depending on a number of factors outside Best Buy's control, including the ever-fickle American consumer's latest whims.

In particular, Barry noted that the recall of Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) Galaxy Note 7 phones last year cut into consumer confidence in that important market. Furthermore, this year's batch of flagship phone launches may fall later than usual, thus delaying and disrupting one of Best Buy's largest marketing events.

That being said, it's a little early to panic about Best Buy's future today. Even including today's substantial share price plunge, the stock is still trading up 27% over the last year -- and can be bought for a modest 13 times trailing earnings. Quality companies stumble once in a while, and that's how I think we'll remember this piece of Best Buy's market history. The turnaround story can continue to be told after a short break.

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