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Seagate's Earnings Weren't That Bad

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Seagate (STX - Get Report) earnings disappointed the market Monday and the company's shares plunged more than 8% in after-hours trading.

In my opinion, however, Seagate investors became distracted ahead of the earnings report, which made their expectations unrealistically high.

Instead of remembering that Seagate issued an earnings warning on July 5, they focused on rival Western Digital's (WDC) strong earnings report last Wednesday, thinking it portended strong results from Seagate, too.

And in recent days, they bid up Seagate's stock.

Shares were recently trading at $29.10, down $1.33, or 4.4%, after Monday evening's deeper decline.

But even at its recent levels, Seagate stock is still up nearly 18% in July.

I think the selloff will be short-lived.

The hard drive maker's stock price has risen 120% over the past year and remains in a bullish trend.

Even though the company's reported revenue of $4.5 billion matched the lowered expectations Seagate made in its July 5 warning, the number was still a record. And the company still has a 42% market share in storage.

Seagate has a price-to-earnings ratio of 6.6, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Historically, stocks with a P/E of less than 20 outperform those with P/Es of more than 20. Does this mean you should invest in companies with multiples below 20 without any further consideration?

No, however, it does mean when you consider an investment such as Seagate, you typically aren't the last person on the train. Monday's after-hours fall was more turbulence than a shifting sentiment in the company or management.

Based on my experience with gap-downs following guidance and news similar to Seagate's, the stock likely will put in a short-term low Tuesday or Wednesday.

With Tuesday's opening gap-down price near $28 for Seagate, continued downside pressure probably won't last long.

TheStreet's Gary Dvorchak takes another look at STX in "Learning to Turn Tail" . (You need a Real Money Pro account to read it, but Dvorchak's analysis makes it worthwhile.)

Bargain hunters and short-sellers covering positions could push Seagate's share price up another 10% by the middle of the month.
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