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What: Shares of technology consultant Hackett Group (NASDAQ:HCKT) sank 14% today after its quarterly results and outlook disappointed Wall Street.
So what: The stock has soared over the past year on a string of better-than-expected quarters, but today's third-quarter results -- earnings per share grew 9% on a revenue increase of just 4% -- coupled with downbeat guidance are triggering concerns over slowing growth going forward. While demand in the U.S. remained strong, ongoing softness in Europe and Australia weighed heavily on Hackett's bottom line, provoking worries that the business model is a lot more vulnerable to weakness abroad than previously thought.
Now what: Management now sees fourth-quarter EPS of $0.07-$0.09 on revenue of $51.0 million-$53.0 million. "We now expect continuing deterioration in both Europe and Australia to more than offset continued year on year US improvements in the fourth quarter," cautioned Chairman and CEO Ted Fernandez. "However, as we enter the new year, we expect our increased investment in EPM capabilities in Europe to strengthen our overall market offering and performance in 2014." With Hackett shares off about 20% from their 52-week highs and trading at a forward P/E of 11, now might be an opportune time to buy into that turnaround talk.
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