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Why Jacobs Engineering Group's Shares Plunged 15% Today

By Travis Hoium – Nov 20, 2018 at 4:31PM

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Even a small earnings miss hurt the company's shares today.

What happened 

Shares of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc (J -1.47%) plunged as much as 15.2% in trading Tuesday after the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter results that didn't sit well with investors. Shares recovered some of those losses late in trading but were still down 10.4% at 3:30 p.m. EST. 

So what

Revenue was up 56% to $4.14 billion and increased 7% on a pro forma basis, which accounts for the acquisition of CH2M and announced sale of the ECR business. The company swung from net income of $93.4 million a year ago to a loss of $22.5 million, or $0.16 per share, a decline that was blamed on the tax reform bill. On an adjusted basis, earnings were $188 million, or $1.31 per share. 

Engineers looking at architecture plans.

Image source: Getty Images.

Earnings easily topped the $1.22 per share that analysts expected, but revenue fell short of the $4.25 billion projected by Wall Street. It's also worth noting that backlog has increased from $19.8 billion a year ago to $27.3 billion, so there's still high visibility for future operations. 

Now what

Revenue may not have lived up to expectations, but the reaction seems a little overdone given the company's bottom-line performance. Part of the problem today is that the market overall is down, with major indices falling around 2%. Given that backdrop, I wouldn't worry too much about Jacobs Engineering's drop in shares today and would take some comfort in its rising adjusted earnings and strong backlog. 

Travis Hoium has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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