Why Rayonier Inc. Shares Fell Today

By Markets Fool.com

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

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What: Shares of Rayonier are trading down by 4% today, after starting off the day down by just over 10%. The company reported earnings on Thursday, and at least one analyst from D.A. Davidson has downgraded the stock from buy to neutral on the basis of valuation.

So what: Rayonier reported fourth quarter net income of $9 million, or $0.07 per share. Excluding the impact of an internal review of its operations and restatement of financial results, fourth-quarter earnings were $11 million, or $0.09 per share.

The company remains cautiously optimistic about its timber harvesting and pricing around the world. In its earnings release, Rayonier noted that it expects pricing in the Southern United States to slowly recover on the back of a recovering U.S. housing market.

However, it sees "strong headwinds" for its Pacific Northwest operations, which it sees affected by lower demand from China and increased competition from Russia, where a declining currency makes its exports less expensive.

Rayonier is preparing to reduce its Pacific Northwest harvests, to better align its production with regrowth. Harvests in this key region are expected to fall 14% from 2014 levels in 2015. It did raise guidance slightly for its New Zealand timberlands, expecting less competition for its harvests from Russian logging firms.

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Now what: Rayonier is returning to business as usual. The company expects that it will need substantially fewer asset sales in 2015 to augment its cash flow. Thus, the operating results of its timberlands, not the gains or losses from asset sales, will drive its results going forward.

Investors appear to be adjusting their expectations for 2015 to include weaker sales out of its core Pacific Northwest region and only modest gains from the sale of its prized assets in the Southern United States.

The article Why Rayonier Inc. Shares Fell Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Jordan Wathen has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends shares of Apple and Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.