What happened

Shares of postal-solutions provider Pitney Bowes (PBI 0.52%) plunged more than 9% in early Thursday trading before clawing its way back to "only" about an 8% decline as of 3 p.m. EDT. With no other news about the company today, an investor can only presume that revelations from the "investor day" that Pitney Bowes held on Wednesday, May 29 are to blame.

Various postmarked stamps.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

What was it that Pitney Bowes said yesterday that got investors so upset? It's not easy to be certain. A PowerPoint presentation of the information Pitney Bowes presented yesterday stretches to 130 pages in length -- a veritable mountain-sized haystack through which to search to find the culprit needles. That being said, here are a few numbers that "stuck" out.

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates, analysts are forecasting a return to revenue growth at Pitney Bowes as early as this year and strong sales growth near 5% in 2020, followed by better than 4% sales gains in 2021. Earnings growth is expected to resume in 2020, with free cash flow growth one year later.

Now what

Pitney Bowes' presentation, however, suggests the turnaround might take even longer than that. One page toward the end of the PowerPoint appears to suggest flat or even declining sales in 2019, for example, with approximately 5% sales growth perhaps taking until 2022 to emerge. The same holds true for free cash flow. Despite analysts' expectations that free cash flow will resume in 2021, Pitney Bowes clearly states, "Free Cash Flow will Return to Year-Over-Year Growth in 2022" -- one year behind schedule.

While I can't say for certain that these are the numbers worrying investors today, I can't say I'd blame them if that's the case.