Why Cray Inc. Shares Plunged Today

Is Cray's drop meaningful? Or just another movement?

Steve Symington
Steve Symington
Apr 30, 2014 at 4:15PM
Technology and Telecom

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 Cray (NASDAQ:CRAY) fell 11% Wednesday after the supercomputing specialist turned in better-than-expected first-quarter results, but issued cautious 2014 guidance.

So what: Quarterly revenue fell 30.7% year over year to $55.1 million, which translated to an adjusted net loss of $0.46 per diluted share. Analysts, on average, were expecting a wider loss of $0.48 per share on sales of just $50.88 million.

Despite the beat, however, Cray's cautious guidance left the market less enthused. Specifically, Cray prefaced its outlook by stating a "wide range of results remains possible," but that it sees 2014 sales of $600 million -- or roughly in line with the $599.25 million analysts were modeling. Moreover, Cray simply stated it "expects to be profitable on both a GAAP and non-GAAP basis for 2014."

Meanwhile, Wall Street was looking for adjusted earnings of $0.81 per share this year.

Now what: If there's one thing the market hates, it's uncertainty. And Cray's cautious outlook certainly didn't do its share price any favors today. But to be honest, I'd be more concerned if management had thrown caution to the wind and provided an overly optimistic view. Given its relative outperformance this quarter, I also certainly can't rule out the possibility Cray could still live up to expectations this year. For now, though, I'm perfectly content watching from the sidelines.