Way back in 2006, I called Daktronics out as the worst investment you could make in 2007. The Daktronics scoreboards at Mile High Stadium seemed a perfect fit for the sky-high valuation the company had racked up. By late April, 2007, Daktronics had lost nearly 40% of its value, and it stayed down there until the Great Panic of 2008 came along -- to give it another 60% haircut. In total, the company’s down nearly 80% from the highs it experienced when I wrote my article back in late 2006. It's not always good to be right.
Today's first-quarter earnings report won't restore Daktronics to its former rocket-stock greatness, either. Sales fell 30% year over year to 113.5 million, and $0.03 of earnings per diluted share is a far cry from last year's $0.24 per share. Future orders are also slow in every one of Daktronics' reportable segments, from scoreboards for school sports to advertising and pricing signs.
But I believe that the worst is over. If Daktronics was an exceptionally bad investment in 2007, it could be one of the best right now.
High-quality digital video screens of unusual size are catching on. You may have seen digital billboards showing advertising inventory from Clear Channel Outdoor
Daktronics CEO Jim Morgan noted that the company is redesigning those outdoor displays from the ground up, with a mind to reduce manufacturing costs and increase reliability. It'll take another three quarters to push the new designs out to customers, but that might be a good thing. By then, infrastructure budgets should have stabilized across schools, municipalities, football franchises, and what have you.
And Daktronics, despite competing against such giants as Philips
I'm a Daktronics shareholder now, and I expect my investment to keep pace with the other growth-stock stars in my portfolio -- Hansen Natural
If you think I'm nuts, set me straight in the comments box below. But I really think Daktronics is about to light up the scoreboard in the short to medium term.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Daktronics, Hansen, and Universal Display, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.