Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of music promoter Live Nation Entertainment
So what: It ends up being pretty hard to pick through Live Nation's numbers since the company likes to point to a heavily adjusted operating-earnings number rather than recognized bottom-line loss -- which may not be all that surprising. On that adjusted basis, the fourth quarter still didn't look all that great as adjusted operating income dropped 11% on a 4.2% revenue decline. The actual net loss of $64 million was narrower than the prior year's $80 million loss, but the loss per share of $0.54 missed the $0.30-per-share loss expectation by a wide margin.
Now what: While I do get skeptical about companies that rely on heavily adjusted numerical exhibits, it is notable that Live Nation does generate healthy cash flow. Of course, it's also notable that the company has a healthy capital-spending budget, so free cash flow is far slimmer than is the company's operating cash flow.
Looking ahead, investors may want to keep an eye on the company's fast-growing eCommerce business. It racked up considerable growth in 2011, but that's an increasingly competitive venue.
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