Talk about your "sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Up it leapt, from $20 to $21.50! Down it plunged, from $21.50 to $19.50! All in the space of a few hours.
And where did the stock end up, you ask? A whopping $0.16 higher than it had closed the day before. So now that everyone's had a good weekend to climb down off the trampoline, let's look at what set Wall Street all a-tremble.
As you may recall, Superior was "supposed" to report a 5% decline in quarterly sales, and $0.22 per share in profits. It actually reported a 7% decline in sales and $0.72 per share in losses. Pretty lousy results, huh? Yet the stock price ended up. Why?
According to Superior's press release, the entire per-share loss was caused by non-cash charges that the company took in Q4, primarily in the form of asset write-downs. Back out those charges, and Superior actually beat analyst estimates. Management wasn't specific about how much of a "beat" it would have achieved. But my back-of-the-envelope scribblings suggest that post-tax (at 30.1%), the $42 million charge taken for the write-down was worth about $1.10 per share. If you add that amount to Superior's $0.72 loss, it would have worked out to a $0.38-per-share profit for the quarter.
(Mind you, don't take that number as gospel -- I'm just saying that management's bald assertion that it would have beaten estimates without the charge does appear grounded in fact.)
So congratulations are in order for Superior shareholders -- but myself, I'm actually a bit disappointed with Superior's announcement. Not because of the operational results, but because Superior gave only the scantiest of reports on those results: an income statement, a few lines excerpted from a balance sheet, and no cash flow statement at all.
Yes, what Superior showed us on Friday looked good -- but it was far from the full picture that shareholders are entitled to see. Let's hope Superior sticks to its historical habit and rectifies this information gap by quickly publishing the missing statements in its 10-Q filing with the SEC.
Flash back to our Foolish Forecast on Superior.
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of Superior Industries.