What: Shares of Ferrari (RACE 2.43%) fell 16% in January. The Prancing Horse's stock opened the month at $47.29 and closed at $39.77 on January 29.
So what: To some extent, Ferrari shares are still finding their natural level after the company's October initial public offering, when it was spun off by longtime majority shareholder Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU).
Ferrari is an intriguing company to value: It's a solidly profitable purveyor of sports cars with margins that resemble a luxury-goods company's more than they resemble a traditional automaker. But because Ferrari's mystique (and margins) depend on exclusivity, it limits its production -- meaning big sales growth isn't in the cards.
The slowdown in China also has to be weighing on Ferrari to some extent. China has been a massive market for Western luxury goods in recent years, with well-established European luxury brands like Ferrari seeing especially strong success. It's unclear whether Ferrari will take a substantial hit from the Chinese slowdown, but investors looking at the company's prospects over the next few years have to be taking it into account.
Now what: Ferrari is set to report its fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 earnings on Tuesday, February 2. That will give investors a fresh look at how the company is operating now that it's independent of FCA, and -- hopefully -- some better expectations for Ferrari's sales and profit outlook for 2016. I wouldn't buy (or sell) before that earnings report, but any investors interested in Ferrari should obviously listen carefully to the company's guidance.