Abaxis 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 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.

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