What: Shares of industrial manufacturer Colfax Corp (NYSE:CFX) dropped as much as 14% in midday trading today after it reported worse-than-expected earnings.

So what: Net sales dropped 16.8% in the quarter to $969.1 million, although organically, sales were down 6.5%. Net income plunged 75% to $18.4 million, or $0.15 per share. Adjusted for one-time items, earnings were $0.24 per share. 

Analysts were expecting revenue of $991.5 million and earnings of $0.41 per share.

Now what: It's no shock that results are down considering the reduction in spending in the oil and gas business, but investors weren't expecting conditions to be quite this bad. Management said that by the end of 2016 it would reduce its cost structure by $100 million and eliminate about 1,500 jobs.

On the bright side, the board of directors did authorize a $100 million stock-purchase plan, which can now be executed at the new lower stock price.

I wouldn't get too bullish on the lower stock price today because there's a lot of uncertainty in Colfax's end markets at the moment. I'd rather wait for an improvement in operating conditions than try to guess when this stock will hit bottom, because a lot of very smart investors have been wrong about when energy prices are going to turn around.

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.