) Many earnings-season issues worry me. One is the constant focus on beating consensus estimates for a three-month period of operations, translating into very short-term thinking for companies and investors. The other side of that coin is: When investors overreact to short-term noise it creates market inefficiencies, which sometimes provide buying opportunities.
One of the things I like about earnings season is seeing reporting results from challenged companies, giving the notion of a possible turnaround. Now, one quarter does not a turnaround make, but it might just be a start.
Late last week, interesting earnings releases from troubled toy company,
(JAKK - Get Report)
, and long-suffering, high-end golf club maker
(ELY - Get Report)
were released. JAKKS, which fell from $19 to $4.50 within the past 18 months, had been putting up some terrible numbers the past few quarters -- including a 27% slide in revenue and a $47 million loss in the second quarter of 2013.
Consensus estimates were calling for earnings of five cents for the quarter; JAKKS lost $2.14 per share. Between July and October, shares fell 61%. Even I, bottom-fishing dumpster-diver I am, was not comfortable taking a position in JAKKS, which was then trading in the $7 range.
Last Wednesday's third-quarter surprise sent shares back to the $7 range. For the quarter, revenue fell 1% to $311 million which was above the $298 million consensus. The company earned $36.6 million, or $1.11 per share, six cents better than consensus estimates.
JAKKS attributed the better-than-expected quarter to strong sales of Disney Princess dolls, and cost-cutting measures, one being the 10% cutting of its workforce in July. While there was some good in this report, it's not enough to entice me to take a position. The company still has a long road back to full-year profitability, and the balance sheet, while not bad, is no longer as attractive. Over the past year, cash has fallen from $140.8 million to $51.5 million, while total debt has fallen from $148 million to $138 million.