Why Hollysys Automation Technologies Stock Popped 26% This Morning

What happened

China's Hollysys Automation Technologies (NASDAQ: HOLI) stock is up 14.3% as of 11:30 a.m. EDT, after hitting a high as much as 26% above yesterday's close earlier this morning.

The Chinese automation and control technologies specialist released its financial results for its fiscal third quarter of 2018 last night, reporting $0.36 per share in profit on sales of $120.6 million, and Wall Street seems pleased with the results.

So what

Curiously, these numbers don't appear to be entirely up to par with what Wall Street was expecting. According to Yahoo! Finance figures, analysts were predicting that Hollysys would earn $0.44 per share on average this quarter. On the other hand, Hollysys did manage to trump Wall Street's sales prediction of $119 million.

Sales for the quarter grew 32% year over year, helped by a big boost in services revenue (up 76%), and pro forma profits were up 64% -- growing faster than sales because Hollysys' cost of goods sold grew only 21% year over year.

Now what

Hollysys reiterated guidance given previously, saying that was "based on our backlog currently on-hand and sales pipeline envisioned so far." But here, too, the news isn't quite as great as you'd expect. Hollysys says it expects to book fiscal 2018 revenue of between $500 million and $530 million this year. At the midpoint, that appears to fall below Wall Street's consensus estimate of $522 million.

Hollysys also says it expects to report "non-GAAP net income in the range of $100 million to $110 million." Management gave no GAAP guidance, but Hollysys' non-GAAP and GAAP profits were essentially equal in Q3, so chances are GAAP earnings for the year should likewise range from $100 million to $110 million -- or about $1.74 per share.

Given that Wall Street is predicting $1.83, though, I honestly see no reason for Hollysys stock to be up at all today -- and maybe that's why it's starting to come back down off its highs.

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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.