Austin Powers' fasha (that means "father," people) may not have liked the Dutch, but I've always been a big fan. How can you not love a place that produced Rembrandt and van Gogh, where everyone rides bicycles and speaks better English than most American congressmen?
Well, Wall Street -- which wouldn't exist had the Dutch not founded New Amsterdam, by the way -- has had no love for the Dutch tech firm Royal Philips Electronics
Shares have taken about a 7% knock on the noggin since Monday's close. Turns out the problem is that the CEO and the CFO were quoted giving different growth rates for upcoming guidance. The CEO said 10% comparable-sales growth was possible, and the CFO said 10% was unlikely. Nothing spooks America's frail traders like a little uncertainty.
Oddly enough, shares are getting whacked on the heels of what should be a time for polite applause. The firm's first-quarter results show a profit of EUR 0.43 per share, reversing the EUR 0.05 per-share loss in the prior-year period. Overall, revenues climbed 8% to EUR 6.6 billion, with the 24% jump in the semiconductor business juicing results. The consumer electronics segment, the largest source of revenue, delivered a respectable 9% gain.
Looking forward, the high single-digit sales growth and earnings estimates of $2.20 a share might make Philips look like a bargain, with a forward P/E around 13. But a quick glance at the consistency -- more specifically, the lack thereof -- of the firm's earnings and free cash flow over the past decade are enough to keep this Fool away. This modest sell-off may be one of those times when the Street does the right thing for the wrong reason.
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Fool contributor Seth Jayson is pretty sure he lived in Amsterdam once, and he speaks a little Dutch with an American accent. Ishn't dat veeahd? He has no stake in any company mentioned above. View his Fool profile here.