What happened

Shares of Patterson Companies (PDCO 1.70%) were under pressure Wednesday following the company's fiscal fourth-quarter 2021 earnings report. As of 1:11 p.m EDT, the stock had fallen by 12%.

Net sales reached $1.56 billion during the three-month period that ended April 24, a result that met analysts' expectations. On the bottom line, though, Patterson Companies' adjusted earnings fell 12% year over year to $0.38 per share. The average analyst following the company was expecting earnings of $0.52 per share.

So what 

Patterson Companies is a leading distributor of dental and animal health products that became harder to distribute during the pandemic-necessitated lockdowns. While its bottom-line miss was disappointing, investors were downright troubled by the guidance management provided.

Investor looking at their computer.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now that many of the headwinds of the pandemic have eased, investors were hoping for a more encouraging outlook than the company provided. In its fiscal 2022, Patterson Companies expects adjusted earnings per share in the range of $1.90 to $2.05. The low end of that guidance range is $0.01 per share less than it just reported for its fiscal 2021.

Now what

Patterson Companies' main competitor in the dental distribution business, Henry Schein (HSIC 3.61%), recently raised its adjusted earnings guidance floor for 2021 to $3.70 per share. That would be significantly better than last year's adjusted earnings result of $2.97 per share, but much of that gain is expected to come from its medical supply business, not from distributing dental products. 

At recent share prices, Patterson Companies offers a tempting 3.4% dividend yield, but I wouldn't recommend trying to catch this falling stock for the dividend. The company hasn't raised its payout since 2017 -- and with a stagnating bottom line, it's unlikely to raise it much in the foreseeable future.