Why Photronics, Inc. Stock Plunged Today

By Markets Fool.com

IMAGE SOURCE: Photronics Inc.

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What happened

Shares ofPhotronics Inc.(NASDAQ: PLAB)fell 12.6% Friday, after the semiconductor photomask manufacturer released disappointing preliminary fourth-quarter 2016 results.

So what

Photronics isn't slated to hold its formal fourth-quarter call until Dec. 6. But in the meantime, the company now expects quarterly sales to be roughly $107 million, which should translate to earnings per diluted share of $0.02 to $0.03. By comparison, Photronics' previous guidance called for fourth-quarter revenue of $118 million to $128 million, and diluted earnings per share of $0.09 to $0.17.

Photronics CEO Peter Kirlin explained:

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Unfortunately, the demand environment we encountered during our fourth quarter was weak across nearly all of our markets, resulting in sales below the guidance we provided in August. We had anticipated weak demand trends for both high end memory and high end FPD, with improvement in high end logic. However, the markets we projected to decline experienced more weakness than we anticipated, and the markets we expected to improve did not do so.

Now what

To be fair, Kirlin also noted that the company anticipates returning to sequential quarterly growth starting in the second quarter of 2017, especially as it begins taking delivery of new tools for FPD to increase capacity as demand ramps up for new AMOLED displays. And regarding longer-term growth, Kirlin reminded investors that construction is moving forward for Photronics' new IC photomask manufacturing facility in China.

But while Photronics' long-term story appears to remain intact, our fickle market hates being told to effectively hurry up and wait. As such, it's no surprise to see Photronics stock trading significantly lower today.

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Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.