Ritchie Bros. Shares Dropped, Then Recovered: 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 auction giant Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (NYS: RBA) were getting auctioned off at a 10% discount early today before rallying back to even.

So what: The question that investors should be asking isn't why Ritchie Bros. stock plunged in the first place -- after all, third-quarter earnings per share missed analysts' estimates by $0.08 -- but rather why they were able to stage such an impressive comeback in spite of the plunging stock market today.

While trying to gauge why investors do what they do on any given day can be like trying to read tea leaves, my guess is that after an initial gasp at the extent to which the company whiffed on third-quarter expectations, investors were cheered by the fact that management said the company is still on track to meet its outlook for the full year.

Now what: Ritchie Bros. is anything but insulated from the broader economy, and management laid blame for the soft third quarter at the feet of market volatility and economic concerns. However, CEO Peter Blake noted that pricing has stayed firm and the fourth quarter is looking good. Specifically, he said that gross auction proceeds for October were $280 million, versus $180 million a year ago.

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