Abaxis 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 blood-analysis specialist Abaxis (NAS: ABAX) were bleeding profusely today, falling as much as 12% in intraday trading after the company reported fiscal third-quarter results.

So what: As compared to the December quarter of 2010, Abaxis' revenue climbed 5% to $37.9 million, led by 9% growth in sales of consumable products. The company's profitability, however, slipped and net income fell 26%, while earnings per share dropped 24% to $0.13. Both the top and bottom line missed analysts' expectations, which called for $0.16 in per-share profit on $40.7 million in revenue.

Now what: Will the coming quarters treat Abaxis any better? Abaxis management seems to think so. CEO Clint Severson laid part of the blame for the soft results on a slowdown in the European markets as that region has battled with a rocky economy. He noted, however, that the company expects "to see a more stable business environment in our European markets in the coming quarters." He also pointed to growth in reagent disc unit sales as a sign that the company is continuing to build a solid market position.

Of course, with shares currently trading at 46 times expected fiscal 2012 earnings, you have to believe in particularly strong growth ahead to justify the stock's valuation.

Want to keep up to date on Abaxis?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 contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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