Greif Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of packaging expert Greif (NYS: GEF) were getting grief from investors today as shares fell as much as 15% in intraday trading after the company reported fiscal third-quarter results.

So what: The path to an investor's heart during earnings season is through a better than expected bottom line. It would appear that Greif didn't quite make it during the past quarter.

The company's total sales were up 22% from last year and actually topped analysts' estimates. Profitability, however, fell sadly short and the adjusted profit per share of $1.18 was well below the $1.33 that analysts were looking for. The company's gross profit margin hampered the bottom line as demand, product mix, and product cost increases hurt profitability.

Now what: The bad news didn't stop with the third quarter, though. The company also noted that demand has continued to be at a lower level than last year and as a result management "adjusted" -- ahem, lowered -- its full-year profit outlook. Previously, the company thought it would make between $4.50 and $4.75 per share, but now only expects to rake in between $4.15 and $4.30.

Want to keep up to date on Greif?Add it to your watchlist.

At the time this article was published Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.Fool contributorMatt Koppenhefferdoes not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting hisCAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter@KoppTheFoolorFacebook. The Fool'sdisclosure policyprefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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