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Why Clean Harbors (CLH) Is Lower on Wednesday

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Clean Harbors (CLH) is plunging on Wednesday after fourth-quarter earnings and sales came in below expectations.

By late morning, shares had taken off 14.5% to $46.14.

In the three months to December, the environmental services provider recorded net income of 44 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected net income of 55 cents a share.

Revenue of $879.4 million was 57.3% higher than a year earlier, but missed consensus by $15 million.

"Our fourth-quarter results were below expectations, as an unanticipated slowdown due to adverse weather and the timing of holidays in December affected our business after a very strong start in October," said CEO Alan S. McKim in a statement.

The Norwell, Mass-based business has downwardly revised its fiscal 2014 guidance.

"We are off to a very slow start to the year due to the severe winter weather. In the U.S. we have seen a significant level of weather-related temporary branch closures year-to-date and we are experiencing elevated maintenance and fuel costs resulting from the severe cold temperatures in Canada and the U.S.," said McKim.

The company also said the reduction in the posted market price of Group 2 lubricants to 30 cents per gallon by the refining majors has affected sales and profits for both base oil and blended products.

"The first quarter is typically one of our seasonally weakest quarters, and that will be exacerbated this year. However, through our comprehensive cost-reduction programs and margin enhancement initiatives, we are confident that we can achieve a significant improvement in our margins as the year progresses," McKim said.

Over fiscal 2014, the company expects revenue in the range of $3.5 billion and $3.6 billion, down from previous guidance of $3.7 billion to $3.8 billion.

For the first quarter, management anticipates revenue between $820 million and $840 million.

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TheStreet Ratings team rates CLEAN HARBORS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate CLEAN HARBORS INC (CLH) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

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