What happened

Shares of energy-in-a-box company Bloom Energy (BE 4.49%) are tumbling today, down 30.3% as of 10:10 a.m. EDT -- and for once, this is a story that doesn't have (much) to do with the coronavirus scare. Instead, this is straight-up an earnings story.

Last night, Bloom reported its Q4 numbers, and instead of the more than $270 million that Wall Street analysts had predicted it would collect, Bloom's sales for the quarter were less than $214 million. Investors were disappointed, and Bloom stock is down as a result.  

Bloom Energy boxes at Yahoo HQ.

Image source: Bloom Energy.

So what

It gets worse.

While Bloom attempted to put a happy face on the news, emphasizing how fast its revenues grew in Q4 -- 36% year over year -- and how fast "acceptances" of its energy-producing devices grew as well -- up 50% -- investors focused instead on how fast the company will probably not grow in the current quarter.

Now what

Specifically, Bloom guided investors to expect Q1 2020 sales of only $140 million to $160 million. At the top of that range, Bloom looks likely to miss analysts' consensus sales target of $215 million by 26%; at the bottom of the range, by 35%.

Admittedly, this is still kind of a coronavirus story. I imagine that customer fears that our whole economy is slouching toward a recession may be depressing demand for Bloom's products. But whatever the reason, what Bloom had to say about guidance yesterday was not what investors wanted to hear.