NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Sotheby's (BID) - Get Report are declining 6.60% to $22.78 in afternoon trading Friday after the company said 2016 first quarter auction sales have fallen 33% so far in the quarter to $438 million.

In a conference call this morning, the auctioneer added that weaker auction sales are expected to cause a major loss for the first quarter of this year, Bloomberg reports.

"We will likely have one or more difficult quarters as we ride through the current cycle," CEO Tad Smith said in a statement.

Additionally, New York City-based Sotheby's reported better than expected financial results for the 2015 fourth quarter before today's market open.

The company posted earnings of $1.19 per share on revenue of $335.82 million for the last three months of 2015.

Analysts had estimated earnings of $1.14 per share on revenue of $331.14 million for the latest quarter.

Separately, Sotheby's has a "hold" rating and a letter grade of C at TheStreet Ratings because of the company's strengths, such as revenue growth, notable return on equity and reasonable valuation levels, and its weaknesses, including poor profit margins, disappointing stock performance and generally higher debt management risk.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: BID

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. 

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