What happened

Shares of Lumber Liquidators (NYSE:LL), a specialty wood flooring purveyor, fell as much as 15% in the first hour or so of trading on May 5. The company, which has changed its public face to LL Flooring, reported earnings before the market opened. Investors weren't pleased at all, though the numbers weren't terrible. As of 11:43 a.m. EDT, the stock was down 14.4%.

So what

Lumber Liquidators reported revenue of $283.5 million in the first quarter of 2021, up roughly 6% from the year-earlier period. Same-store sales grew 6.9%. Digging a bit deeper, merchandise sales rose 4.7%, with the service side of the business (delivery and installation) seeing a jump of 16.8%. Adjusted earnings came in at $0.34 per share.  

A tool box with tools next to a yellow hard hat

Image source: Getty Images.

None of this is particularly bad and the company actually beat analysts' average earnings estimate of $0.24 per share. However, Lumber Liquidators missed on revenue and didn't provide any outlook for the future, citing ongoing uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic. These are clear negatives, but probably not enough to lead to the swift price decline all on their own. It's worth noting the stock has gained roughly 200% over the past year (at one point in that span it was up around 400%). Investors clearly priced in a lot of good news after the market started to turn higher following the swift 2020 bear market. It looks like they didn't feel there was enough positive news in Lumber Liquidators' first-quarter earnings report.  

Now what

Long-term investors need to remember that when stocks move dramatically in one direction or the other, it can materially alter the way investors react to company news. It would be hard to suggest that Lumber Liquidators had a terrible quarter, but after such a big share-price advance over the past year, it seems like investors were looking for something more.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.