Bankrate Inc. (NYSE: RATE) was downgraded by analysts after the personal finance website had poor earnings and guidance. What 24/7 Wall St. wants to know is whether this is the sign of worse things to come or whether this fire-sale is creating a great opportunity as the stock challenges a new low.
Earnings tanked the stock on Wednesday after the night before brought the news that revenue came in at only $93.2 million. That is down from $113.8 million a year ago and was well less than the consensus of about $106.3 million. The reported earnings came to only $0.06 per share as well, and that was versus a consensus of $0.11 per share. To add insult to injury, Bankrate projected that 2013 would see flattish revenues over 2012′s $457.2 million. That is much less than the nearly $503 million expected by Wall St.
So here is where the dilemma comes into play. Bankrate hit a 52-week low of $10.00. This represents a post-IPO low since mid-2011. The company’s CEO said that this is the bottom of a transition curve in the insurance side of the business that will lead to higher quality and better margin leads. The CEO also said that credit card advertisers are starting to increase advertising as well. We wonder how much these gains will help since the company’s guidance is for flat revenues.
The chart has not yet confirmed the trend toward only lower and lower share prices. Generally one bad reaction like this (-18%) is followed by more drops, but the company is trying to signal a transition. Trust is hard to come by in companies, and it is amazing that this company still has a market cap of $1 billion.
Bankrate shares are down close to 19% at $10.05 on more than 2 million shares, and the stock hit a new 52-week low of $10.00 on Wednesday morning. The prior 52-week range was $10.01 to $25.95.
The chart from Stockcharts.com below is one that encourages patience rather than anything aggressive. Hitting a 52-week low when the DJIA and S&P are within striking distance of new highs is no great signal.
Jon C. Ogg