Shares of Ceragon Networks (CRNT 4.49%) fell as much as 16.5% on Wednesday, following the company's release of fourth-quarter results. The maker of ultrafast wireless networking technologies for service provider backhaul and other longer-range situations actually exceeded Wall Street's expectations for this quarter. But the surprise wasn't big enough to support a high-flying stock.
Ceragon's fourth-quarter sales stopped at $85.7 million, 1.1% below the year-ago period's $86.7 million. On the bottom line, adjusted earnings rose 50% to $0.06 per diluted share. Your average analyst would have settled for earnings near $0.05 per share on sales in the neighborhood of $84 million.
Looking ahead, management said that revenues should rise in the 2019 fiscal year, although seasonal effects probably will drive first-quarter sales lower.
The company is positioned to take advantage of the upcoming 5G wireless networking surge, by connecting wireless towers to the global internet through microwave radio links. But that's still a longer-term opportunity since service providers can't be expected to install their entire 5G solutions in a single year.
Some investors might have been hoping for a more rosy review of Ceragon's near-term prospects, and that caused them to take some profits off the table after viewing this report, which was good but not great. The stock was trading 86% higher year over year last night and is still soaring 57% higher on a 52-week basis today.
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