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Why Albemarle Corporation's Shares Popped 10% Wednesday

Image source: Albemarie Corporation.

What: Shares of specialty chemicals company Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) jumped 10% on Wednesday after releasing first-quarter 2016 earnings results.

So what: Net sales for the quarter fell 2%, to $865.4 million, but easily topped the $811.3 million in revenue analysts were looking for. Adjusted earnings fell slightly to $125.8 million, or $1.12 per share, but the results were ahead of the $0.85 in earnings that Wall Street was looking for. 

Management also increased annual guidance to revenue of between $3.3 billion and $3.6 billion, adjusted EBITDA of $920 million to $970 million, and adjusted earnings of $3.90 to $4.25 per share.

Now what: The business is hitting on all cylinders, and that drove the first-quarter results and increased guidance. There were improvements in all segments, and with management's decision not to sell the chemistry services business, there was good reason to increase expectations. Shares still aren't cheap at 18 times the top-end of earnings estimates, especially given relatively slow growth in the core business. But given the big outperformance today, investors are overlooking the value of the shares, for now.

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