Encore Capital Group Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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 debt-collection specialist Encore Capital Group (NAS: ECPG) were sliding today, falling as much as 17% in intraday trading on heavier-than-average volume.

So what: Some investors were obviously very disappointed with Encore Capital's second-quarter results. Gross collections for the company increased 24% from last year, to $195 million, while earnings per share were $0.58, up from $0.47 in 2010. Encore's total revenue of $115.8 million missed analyst expectations of $116.6 million and -- depending which set of estimates you're looking at -- the EPS either missed expectations by $0.01 or hit them on the nose.

Now what: The big reaction to what did not look like a terribly bad earnings report seems a bit overdone. But with a small stock like Encore that has a relatively low trading volume, even a moderate amount of selling pressure can have a big impact. For investors that have had Encore on their radars, this could be a good buying opportunity.

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