Water Pik (NYSE: PIK) says its earnings will be a wash; don't forget to floss with the disappointment.

It shouldn't come as a surprise to the few tracking the company that it will miss the consensus profit target of $0.90 a share in earnings for the full year. While it was upbeat over the summer after a strong first half and a slate of new products promised to close out the year strongly, Water Pik backed off the optimism in October before talking earnings down again last night.

You probably know about Water Pik dental hygiene products. Did you know the company behind the products is public, a spin-off by Allegheny Technologies(NYSE: ATI) three years ago? Or furthermore, that Water Pik produces everything from pool products to water heaters?

Investors who saw the stock close at $7.60 yesterday -- a level unseen since 2000 -- may have thought they were looking at a bargain. Having earned $0.85 a share last year and set to nudge the bottom line slightly higher in 2002, why not take a chance on a small cap with a brand name and a humble P/E ratio of just 8?

Well, the warning signs were there already. Profit targets for 2002 that started out close to a buck a share earlier this year had dwindled down to the $0.90-a-share mark. The company also warned about weakness in its pool products division. That may be surprising to some. With record-low rates, weren't folks refinancing and remodeling their homes, sometimes digging out the backyard to build a pool? Never take a company's industry outlook as gospel. Look at SCP Pool(Nasdaq: POOL), a major wholesale distributor of pool supplies. The company has grown sales and earnings by 14% over the first nine months of the year. Water Pik's wounds were clearly self-inflicted.

What about those new oral care products? Well, they haven't been enough to offset weak retail orders overall. And if the company is already warning of missed earnings, it's clear Water Pik won't get the holiday gift-giving kick it usually sees this time of year.

Is Water Pik a bargain stock? Hardly. Just say it. Don't spray it.