Why Mattel's Shares Plunged

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 iconic toymaker Mattel (NYS: MAT) were looking played out today, falling as much as 10% in intraday trading after the company reported first-quarter results.

So what: If your primary scorecard is the expectations of Wall Street analysts, then Mattel simply didn't deliver in the first quarter. Adjusted profit per share came in at $0.06, below the $0.07 that analysts had estimated. Sales of $928 million were well short of the $989 million that Wall Street had in mind.

Even on an absolute level it wasn't a pretty quarter for Mattel. Barbie sales saw a quarterly decline for the first time since 2009, helping drive a year-over-year 2% drop in total sales. On the bright side, international sales continued to plug ahead, increasing 7% from last year.

Now what: As a Mattel shareholder, it's hard to say I'm happy about the first-quarter results. However, most Foolish investors don't buy and sell based on the results of a single quarter. Instead, we prefer to look at the bigger picture.

For Mattel, the bigger picture is that this is still one of the premier toy companies in the world, with great franchises like Barbie and Hot Wheels. I wouldn't like to see these declines become a trend, but the first quarter is also the company's seasonally slowest quarter and not the three months that are going to make or break the year. There'll be no gold star for Mattel in the first quarter, but there's still a lot to like about this company.

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At the time thisarticle was published Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Mattel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bear put spread position in Mattel. 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.Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Mattel. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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