What happened 

Shares of Emcore (EMKR -1.79%) -- which provides mixed-signal products (chips that can process both analog and digital signals) for use in aerospace, defense, and other industries -- plummeted today after the company reported worse-than-expected results for its first quarter.

Investors were disappointed with the company's earnings and a subsequent downgrade from an analyst, which sent the tech stock plummeting 32.6% as of 11:56 a.m. ET on Thursday. 

So what

Emcore reported non-GAAP earnings of $0.14 per share, which missed the analysts' consensus estimate of $0.17 per share. Meanwhile, the company's revenue of $42.2 million just eked past Wall Street's expectation of $42.16 million.

A red arrow pointing down.

Image source: Getty Images.

Emcore CEO Jeff Rittichier said in a press release that the company "delivered another quarter of strong financial performance" but also noted that while demand from its broadband customers helped the quarterly results, its aerospace and defense business had "ongoing challenges associated with the global pandemic and supply chain disruption." 

The company issued revenue guidance for the second quarter in the range of $32 million to $34 million, far below Wall Street's expectation of $40.5 million. 

Investors typically react negatively when a company misses analysts' earnings estimates and issues disappointing guidance. But Emcore investors may also be reacting to Lake Street Capital analyst Jaeson Schmidt downgrading the company's stock today, from a buy rating to hold. Schmidt also lowered his price target for Emcore's stock from $11 to $4.50.  

Now what 

Investors might want to proceed with caution with Emcore right now. With today's massive price drop, the tech stock is down 53% over the past three months.  

Zooming out even further, Emcore's share price has experienced a lot of volatility over the past year, and investors may be better off staying on the sidelines with this stock until they see the company moving in a better direction.