What happened

Shares of Littelfuse (NASDAQ:LFUS), a provider of circuit protection products, slumped on Wednesday following the company's third-quarter report. Littelfuse came up short of analyst estimates for both revenue and earnings, and its fourth-quarter guidance called for sluggish growth. The stock was down about 11% at 11 a.m. EDT.

So what

Littelfuse reported third-quarter revenue of $317.9 million, up 13% year over year but about $1 million below the average analyst estimate. Organic revenue, which backs out the effects of acquisitions, divestitures, and currency, grew by 9% year over year.

The Littelfuse AF0100 Arc-flash relay.

Image source: Littelfuse.

Electronics sales jumped 19% to $175.9 million, while both automotive and industrial revenue grew 7% to $113.8 million and $28.2 million, respectively. The electronics segment was the star of the show yet again, but all three segments produced operating income growth in addition to revenue growth. Non-GAAP earnings per share came in at $2.11, up from $1.87 in the prior-year period but $0.01 shy of analyst expectations.

Littelfuse expects fourth-quarter revenue between $292 million and $304 million, which represents 5% year-over-year growth at the midpoint, and 2% year-over-year organic growth. That's a significant slowdown compared to the third quarter. Non-GAAP EPS is expected between $1.58 and $1.72, compared to $1.57 during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Now what

With Littelfuse barely missing analyst estimates for the third quarter, the company's fourth-quarter guidance seems to be the sticking point for investors. Organic revenue growth is set to drop into the low single digits, a far cry from the 9% growth reported for the third quarter.

Shares of Littelfuse had soared nearly 38% year to date prior to Wednesday's plunge. The stock may have simply gotten ahead of what the company could deliver, prompting a double-digit stock price decline despite generally positive results.

Timothy Green has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Littelfuse. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.