Valassis Shares Dropped: 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 coupon kingpin Valassis Communications (NYS: VCI) were put on sale by investors today as they fell as much as 25% in intraday trading after the company reported third-quarter earnings.

So what: It was not a good day for Valassis shareholders; the company released third-quarter results that were well below what was expected. On the top line, revenue fell 7.7% to $528 million, versus the $571 million that analysts were estimating. Diluted earnings per share were actually up 12% from last year, but the $0.58 tally was also well short of the $0.73 bar that Wall Street had set.

The company chalked up the lackluster performance to the volatile economic environment and the fact that increased coupon redemptions have tapped out the promotional budgets for many customers.

Now what: It doesn't appear that there will be a quick fix for the quarter's slump, as Valassis revised down its full-year expectations. Diluted earnings per share for all of 2011 are now expected to be $2.33, down from the prior forecast of $2.76.

For investors looking at the longer view, though, there might not be quite as much to be concerned about. The company expects that its customers will make adjustments for higher coupon redemptions and expand promotional budgets next year. And with the stock trading at a very low multiple of earnings, it would seem that expectations for the company are already pretty darn low.

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