What: Shares of Avis Budget Group (NASDAQ:CAR), one of the largest car and truck rental services to businesses and consumers around the globe, tumbled as much as 15% at one point during Tuesday's trading session following the release of its third-quarter earnings results after the closing bell last night.
So what: For the quarter, Avis Budget Group drove home revenue of $2.58 billion, a roughly 1% increase over the prior-year period, but 8% growth if you exclude negative currency movements. Adjusted profit per share grew by 4% to $1.98, reflecting its efforts to cut costs and the benefits from its acquisitions over the years. CEO Ronald Nelson also notes the company repurchased more shares during the third quarter than during any quarter in its history.
Comparatively, Wall Street anticipated that Avis Budget Group would report approximately $2.6 billion in revenue (more or less meeting expectations) and $2 in EPS (missing by $0.02 on an adjusted basis). Where the wheels fell off the wagon was in Avis Budget Group's guidance. The company narrowed its full-year adjusted EPS forecast to a range of $3.10-$3.25 from a prior forecasted range of $3.15-$3.45, and boosted the negative effect of currency translation from $0.15 per share to $0.20 per share. The Street expected $3.36 in EPS for 2015.
Now what: No rocket science degree needed here: It's earnings season, and following a voracious six-year rally in stocks, companies that disappoint Wall Street are liable to be punished.
However, I have to wonder if today's move lower may not be a bit overdone. For instance, Avis Budget can't do a darn thing about currency fluctuations, nor should investors truly penalize the company for dropping its full-year forecast on account of currency movements. Within the United States, rental days and rental prices are both moving in the right direction based on constant currency comparisons. The only data point worth watching closely is whether the company can boost its pricing in international markets, where it dipped 2% in constant currency during the quarter.
Considering the cost savings tied to its somewhat recent acquisitions (e.g., ZipCar, Payless Car Rental), its commitment to improving shareholder value, and its size, I'd actually take today's dip in the company's share price as an impetus to perhaps dig a bit deeper to see if there's a decent value to be had here.
Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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