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What: Shares of Invacare (NYSE:IVC), a global manufacturer and supplier of medical equipment for the health care and home health industries, jumped as much as 17% after reporting market-topping third-quarter earnings results.
So what: For the quarter, net sales decreased 5.6% from the year-ago period to $341.2 million, primarily as a result of a 7% decline in organic net sales. European sales proved to be a strong point for Invacare while the remainder of its global operations struggled -- especially its North American home health segment. However, the company's adjusted net loss came in at $0.18 per share, which was $0.08 smaller than Wall Street had predicted. In addition, Invacare nearly doubled the amount of free cash flow generated during the quarter to $29.4 million from the $15.6 million reported at this time last year.
Now what: Keep in mind that the revenue year-over-year comparisons aren't completely clean since it divested Invacare Supply Group earlier this year, but its 5.6% decline in organic year-over-year sales isn't very encouraging despite what the earnings beat might imply. True, the company did reduce its inventory, which is a good sign for pricing power down the road, but the cooling off of North American markets to its products is a bit of a worrisome sign. I certainly wouldn't want to count on Europe to continue to bail out my bottom line given how austerity measures throughout that group of countries can wreak havoc with spending patterns in all industries. With Invacare essentially hugging the flat-line of profitability when it comes to fiscal 2014 expectations, I would rather wait on the sidelines until I see a marked improvement in its other core markets.
Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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