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Castle Brands Hit by ForEx Hangover

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Castle Brands (ROX) traded sharply lower on high volume Friday morning after the booze and wine distributor posted wider quarterly losses.

Castle Brands shares dipped 14.3% lower in early trading before rebounding somewhat ahead of midday. The big percentage move only amounted to 6 cents, however, as the stock traded between 20 cents and 74 cents in the last 52 weeks.

Just 90 minutes into trading Castle Brands shares were lower by 9.5%, to 38 cents, with more than 50,000 shares in play, compared with their trailing 30-day average volume of 66,000.

The distributor of Gosling's Rum, Jefferson's bourbons and Boru Vodka booked fiscal 2011 first quarter losses of $1.7 million, or 2 cents loss per share, compared with year-earlier losses of $559,000, or a penny loss per share.

The New York City-based company grew revenue by 4.4% to $6.1 million in the three months ended June 30, and said it will continue to focus on its more profitable brands, namely Gosling's and Jefferson's, to drive future revenue. Selling expenses were lower in the quarter, and the steeper losses were attributed to less favorable foreign exchange gains compared with the first quarter last year.

Total case sales decreased by 4.6% in Castle Brands' first quarter to 58,810, including a 4.3% decline in the U.S. and 6% in international markets.

Despite its weaker performance, management remained optimistic, touting the firm's repurchase of 3.8 million shares in the recent quarter and the launch of a 2.5 million share stock repurchase program.

Elsewhere in the micro-cap alcohol sector, shares of Drinks Americas Holdings (DKAM), which distributes Trump brand vodkas, fell 5.7% to half a penny. Willamette Valley Vineyards (WVVI), seller of premium wine varietals, gained 1.4% to $3.55. American depositary receipts of sector behemoth Diageo (DEO), which peddles well-known alcohol brands like Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Captain Morgan, gained 0.4% to $69.42.

Castle Brands' Stock Rating Report
(ROX) Rating and Financial Analysis

-- Reported by Miriam Marcus Reimer from New York.

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