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Why KEYW Holding Corp. Stock Rebounded Today

By Nickey Friedman – Mar 26, 2014 at 2:28PM

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KEYW Holding Corp.’s upward move was based on reduced uncertainty.

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 cybersecurity company KEYW Holding Corp. (KEYW) bounced as much as 4.4% today following the appointment announcement of new CFO Philip Calamia. Calamia's appointment is effective immediately and replaces John Krobath.

So what: Recall back on March 20 in after hours, KEYW Holding had announced that then-CFO Krobath will be resigning on April 25. The lack of a ready replacement caused some angst in the market as it begged the question whether there is something wrong with the company. Krobath didn't have any parting kind words, and the accompanying 8-K filing with the SEC was missing the customary language that the resignation "was not the result of a disagreement relating to the Company's strategies, operations, policies or practices."

Now what: The March 25 announcement of Calamia comes just five days later and implies that he was likely already being considered the whole time, quite possibly with just final contract details being hammered out. Calamia is an internal hire; CEO Len Moodispaw stated that his "leadership style and personality blend very well with KEYW's culture."

Was this to imply that prior CFO Krobath didn't get along with another executive or number of executives? It would seem quite possible. If so, that should reduce the risk and uncertainty of there being a problem with the company or its financials. However, it may make you wonder if an internal problem was the root cause of any personality conflicts.

The rally didn't last very long. KEYW Holding gave up all of its gains and turned red in the afternoon. The reason is not clear, though a broad market sell-off may have helped cool down the euphoria over the new CFO. The uncertainty is now reduced, but not by 100%. The market may have been more at ease if the new CFO came on as an outside party rather than an internal promotion. After all, who wouldn't want a promotion with more pay while working for the same company? It doesn't necessarily say much about the internal financial picture and outlook.

Bottom line here is the news of having the new CFO in place is certainly positive, but not necessarily good enough to justify a higher stock price. Stay focused on clues as to the earnings picture of this quarter and next, as these will be the ultimate verdict as to the significance of the management change.

Nickey Friedman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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