Why Shares of BitAuto Holdings Ltd. Are Sinking Today

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.

What: Shares of BitAuto , a provider of Internet content and marketing services to the Chinese automotive industry, sank on Monday despite the company handily beating analyst estimates for both revenue and earnings for the fourth quarter. As of 12:30 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, Monday, shares were down about 14%.

So what: BitAuto reported revenue of $157.2 million for the fourth quarter, nearly double the company's revenue from the fourth quarter of 2013 and $33 million higher than analyst estimates. Non-GAAP earnings came in at $0.73 per share, eleven cents higher than what analysts were expecting.

Revenue from the bitauto.com business grew by 74.5% year-over-year during the fourth quarter, accounting for $71.3 million in revenue. The EP platform business, which provides web-based digital marketing and customer relationship management software to automobile dealers, generated $54.5 million in revenue, growing by 113.8% year-over-year. The digital marketing solutions segment nearly tripled in size, growing 191.9% year-over-year and generating $30.1 million for the company.

The company offered strong guidance as well, expecting $101.5 million to $104.8 million in revenue during the first quarter, representing growth of around 80% year-over-year, well ahead of analyst expectations. Non-GAAP net income is expected to be roughly break-even, a decline compared to the first quarter of 2013.

Now what: BitAuto's stock price has been shooting upward since late 2012, driven by continued strong revenue growth and outstanding margins. Over the past three years, the stock is up about 1,350%, and it currently trades at about 7 times sales and 33 times earnings. The decline in the stock price despite the strong earnings report may simply be a reaction to this lofty valuation, as the stock has been extremely volatile since late last year.

The article Why Shares of BitAuto Holdings Ltd. Are Sinking Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Timothy Green 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.

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