Want to know what a stock market freak-out looks like? CRA International (NASDAQ:CRAI) may be a good example today. Although earnings for this consultant basically matched estimates, and guidance wasn't trimmed that badly, investors sent the stock down about 14% by midday on Thursday.

Looking at fiscal third-quarter results, revenue climbed about 25%, boosted partly by acquisitions. Margins eased off slightly while operating income grew by about 20%. Recouping some of that through a lower tax rate, CRA managed to post 47% income growth and 27% earnings-per-share growth.

I don't often plug myself into Wall Street chatter, so I'm not entirely sure why the stock is down so much today. Yes, the company missed the revenue estimate, but by only about 4%. Likewise, the range of earnings guidance pretty much seemed to center around the prerelease mean estimate. If those are investors' only reasons for selling off the stock, it seems like a bit of an overreaction to me.

Sure, CRA has to deal with competition, whether from privately held companies like Bain and McKinsey or public companies like Accenture (NYSE:ACN) and Resources Connection (NASDAQ:RECN). But that's nothing new. Competition hasn't kept the company from participating in high-profile deals like the recent merger of Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) or Procter & Gamble's (NYSE:PG) acquisition of Gillette. What's more, activities like mergers and acquisitions and corporate lawsuits aren't about to go out of style. I've got to think there's plenty of business awaiting CRA in the future.

Since I'm not entirely sure why the market responded so badly to this report, I won't be in any hurry to dive into these shares. There's usually plenty of time to get into good stocks, even if you do miss their panic-induced dips. What's more, I'm always a bit skeptical of companies that rely on acquisitions, not to mention those that dilute their shareholders (note CRA's 16% year-over-year increase in the number of shares) and create potentially significant stock option expense. Maybe I'll be crying in my beer for missing this opportunity, but that's a risk I'll just have to take.

Consult with further Foolishness:

Accenture is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Resource Connection is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation.

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).