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Why Wesco Aircraft Holdings Stock Just Dropped 21%

What happened

Airline supply chain management company Wesco Aircraft Holdings' (NYSE: WAIR) stock took its shareholders for a roller-coaster ride this morning, falling as much is 21% in early trading before bouncing back to book an 11% loss as of noon EST. The reason, as you might have guessed, is earnings.

Wesco reported its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 earnings after close of trading last night, and this morning was investors' first chance to trade on the news. Analysts  had expected Wesco to report pro forma profits of $0.16 per diluted share. Instead, Wesco reported a $0.39 per share GAAP loss for its fiscal fourth quarter and a pro forma profit of $0.08 per share. By either measure, therefore, Wesco "missed" earnings.

Wesco stock is losing a lot of altitude today. Image source: Getty Images.

So what

The news for the full fiscal year was arguably worse. Wesco reported a loss of $2.40 per diluted share on revenues of $1.43 billion. Wall Street had been looking for a profit of $0.72 per diluted share (albeit, only pro forma) on sales of $1.46 billion. As a result of its full-year loss (and the stock slide that followed it), Wesco now sports a negative P/E ratio and a market capitalization of less than the $870 million in debt on its balance sheet.

Now what

Sales were down for the full fiscal year -- 3.2%. The good news is that Wesco hopes to return to sales growth in fiscal 2018, guiding investors to expect "a low single-digit percentage increase in net sales year-over-year in fiscal 2018." As far as profits go, management gave investors only an "adjusted EBITDA" projection -- a promise that could mean pretty much whatever management decides it will mean. For what it's worth, though, management says this very pro forma number will grow by "a low double-digit percentage" in fiscal 2018, with most of the growth occurring in the back half of the year.

Judging from today's market reaction, it doesn't look like investors are very interested in sticking around to see if Wesco will deliver on that promise.

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Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.