What: Shares of Cognex (NASDAQ:CGNX) traded down as much as 12% on Tuesday after its third-quarter earnings, released Monday evening, raised concerns about its growth prospects.

So what: It was a tough comparable quarter for Cognex, as a large, one-time customer order occurred during the same quarter last year. Third-quarter revenue from continuing operations declined 30% year over year to $107.6 million, falling within the $106 million to $106 million revenue range the company provided last quarter, while earnings decreased 45% to $0.29 per share.

Although the results technically fell in line with analyst expectations, the company experienced a slowdown in demand from customers in Asia and automotive industry, which it believes will continue in the fourth quarter. Consequently, it expects to generate between $94 million and $97 million in revenue during the fourth quarter, which represents 0% to 3% annual increase. This compares unfavorably to the $111 million consensus already built into expectations.

Now what: As Cognex's third-quarter earnings have shown, its business remains sensitive to what's happening in the industrial economy. Ultimately, without a thriving world economy, it appears that Cognex's results could remain subdued for the foreseeable future.

Steve Heller has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Cognex. 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.