Why Herman Miller’s Shares Plunged

Is this meaningful or just another movement?

Travis Hoium
Travis Hoium
Sep 20, 2012 at 12:00AM

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 fashionable office furniture supplier Herman Miller (Nasdaq: MLHR) fell as much as 11% today, after announcing a drop in earnings.

So what: Revenue was down 2% to $449.7 million, below analyst estimates of $455.1 million. Net income declined 19%, to $20 million, or $0.34, which was $0.05 below estimates.  

Now what: The big concern is that new orders fell 6%, and management brushed it off as "pockets of weak demand". Federal government and health care were the two negative sectors of the market and, despite strong consumer and international demand, the weakness is having a big impact on overall demand. I would like to see improvements in overall demand before jumping in but, with shares trading at less than 10 times next year’s estimates, I think there is upside if growth returns. Opportunistic buying on dips over the next quarter will take advantage of short-term weakness after today’s results.

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