Live Nation 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 music promoter Live Nation Entertainment (NYS: LYV) were sounding off-key to investors today as the beat took shares down as much as 10% in intraday trading.

So what: It ends up being pretty hard to pick through Live Nation's numbers since the company likes to point to a heavily adjusted operating-earnings number rather than recognized bottom-line loss -- which may not be all that surprising. On that adjusted basis, the fourth quarter still didn't look all that great as adjusted operating income dropped 11% on a 4.2% revenue decline. The actual net loss of $64 million was narrower than the prior year's $80 million loss, but the loss per share of $0.54 missed the $0.30-per-share loss expectation by a wide margin.

Now what: While I do get skeptical about companies that rely on heavily adjusted numerical exhibits, it is notable that Live Nation does generate healthy cash flow. Of course, it's also notable that the company has a healthy capital-spending budget, so free cash flow is far slimmer than is the company's operating cash flow.

Looking ahead, investors may want to keep an eye on the company's fast-growing eCommerce business. It racked up considerable growth in 2011, but that's an increasingly competitive venue.

Want to keep up to date on Live Nation Entertainment? Add it to your Watchlist.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorMatt Koppenhefferdoes not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting hisCAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter@KoppTheFoolorFacebook.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. The Fool'sdisclosure policyprefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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