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Why Winnebago Industries, Inc. Stock Gained 20% in March

By Jeremy Bowman - Apr 7, 2016 at 8:34AM

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The RV maker benefited from a recovery in the market and a bottom-line beat in its earnings report.

Image source: Winnebago.

What: Shares of Winnebago Industries, Inc. (WGO -3.08%) were revving higher last month, gaining 20% according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence as the company rode the recovery in the broader market and posted better-than-expected earnings in its quarterly report.

So what: Winnebago shares came into the month with momentum, having gained 13% in February since the stock hit bottom on Feb. 9. There was little news out on the company through the first half of March, but the stock continued to move higher as it seemed be oversold during the previous sell-off, trading at a P/E of just 10 at one point. 

Like many stocks, Winnebago's swings tend to be more exaggerated than the broader market's, due to the nature of its business selling expensive recreational vehicles. As the market became reassured that a recession wasn't around the corner, the stock started to look more appealing.

As for its second-quarter earnings report, the company posted a per-share profit of $0.35, better than estimates of $0.33, but revenue fell 3.8% to $225.7 million, missing expectations at $234.6 million. New CEO Michael Happe promised to "[deliver] the industry's highest level of product quality," and said the company had a strong foundation to build future value. Gross margin improved 90 basis points, helping to push earnings per share up 15% from the year before.

Now what: Flat sales growth has been a familiar theme for several quarters now for Winnebago investors. Despite a macroeconomic environment that would seem to favor the manufacturer, with low unemployment and low gas prices, sales of its RVs continue to fall. Backlogs improved in the quarter, up over 20%, indicating that better times could be on the way. Still, Winnebago has struggled with supply chain problems and the company needs to deliver at a time when oil prices are near decade lows if the stock is to return to its former highs.  

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