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Why Valassis Shares Sank

By Alex Planes - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:35PM

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Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

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 Valassis Communications (NYSE: VCI) crashed by nearly 15% this morning but have since clawed their way back to a loss of about 8%, on a double whiff on first-quarter earnings and an underwhelming set of forward guidance.

So what: Valassis reported revenue of $482.5 million and earnings of $0.54 per share, which missed Wall Street's consensus of $489.9 million and $0.69 per share, respectively. The EPS miss was a big one, and it certainly played into Valassis' new guidance range of $3.05 to $3.20 per share, a reduction from the earlier $3.50 guidance and a big miss on the current consensus of $3.44 per share.

Now what: Valassis is pretty inexpensive today, with a P/E in the single digits after its drop, and a hefty 4.6% dividend. However, a reduction in guidance does present some concern that the company's core business is weakening. It could be a great buying opportunity, but it might also be a value trap. Diligent investors should take this as an opportunity for more research.

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