To own a stock that is a darling of the Wall Street crowd is to dance with the devil. It's a great experience while things are good, but if there's a stumble you realize just how quickly those investors will find another dance partner. That might be an exaggeration of what has been happening to global logistics company UTi Worldwide (NASDAQ:UTIW), but I think it's closer to the mark than not.

At least the top-line growth isn't really slowing too terribly much. Reported revenue (both gross and net) jumped 23% as reported this quarter, with the underlying growth (sans foreign currency and acquisitions) in the mid-teens. Growth was a bit mixed across the board: High fuel costs are putting the pinch on the air freight business, but the ocean freight business is doing much better.

The bigger issue, though, is profitability. The company is investing in both a new IT platform and new marketing, both of which have upfront costs that have to be paid ahead of the eventual positive contributions of the moves. Consequently, operating income was only slightly higher than the year-ago level, and operating margin compressed by a couple of points.

You might think these problems have nothing to do with competitors like Expeditors International (NASDAQ:EXPD), EGL (NASDAQ:EAGL), and CH Robinson (NASDAQ:CHRW), and you'd be right. These are company-specific problems at UTi, and the stocks of these rivals have generally marched merrily onward.

So, what do you and I do with the stock? Well, for starters, this is a high-quality company (you don't snag business from Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) if you're just a joker) in a business that should have a prolonged bright future. But even though the stock is down from its highs, it still doesn't look cheap by traditional approaches. Still, I talk to folks who know this space and company better than I, and they think I'm too conservative on my numbers. So while I might not be backing up the truck myself, other Fools should take a look at a once high-flier that has come a bit closer to earth.

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