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Poor Earnings, Legal Woes Smack Central European Distribution Lower

CEDC tagged a new annual low in today's trading

by 11/4/2011 10:45:30 AM
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Central European Distribution Corp (CEDC - 3.87) took its turn in the earnings confessional before the bell. Citing a $547-million charge for goodwill impairment in overseas markets, CEDC reported a steep third-quarter loss of $839.9 million, or $11.59 per share, compared to its year-ago profit of $68.9 million, or 98 cents per share. Excluding items, profit arrived at 6 cents per share. Revenue, meanwhile, rose to $228.9 million from $157.8 million. Bottom-line results came in much lower than expected, as analysts, on average, were predicting earnings of 19 cents per share on revenue of $220.9 million. As a result, CEDC has lowered its full-year earnings outlook to fall somewhere between 24 cents to 45 cents per share on revenue of $850 to $950 million.

Technically, CEDC has been struggling. Over the course of the past 20 trading sessions, the security has lagged the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by over 31 percentage points, on a relative-strength basis. Year-to-date, the stock has lost nearly 78% of its value. The shares fell significantly last week after several allegations of possible federal securities fraud. In light of its legal and financial troubles, CEDC tagged a new annual low of $3.70 right out of the gate this morning.

Daily price chart of CEDC since October 2011

It's not too surprising, then, that the stock finds itself surrounded by bearish sentiment. As a matter of fact, data gathered from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) show that during the course of yesterday's session, traders bought to open 2,200 puts on CEDC, compared to only 588 calls -- bringing the stock's single-day put/call volume ratio to 3.74.

Furthermore, these bearish bets traded at two times their average daily pace on Thursday, with 8,817 contracts changing hands. By contrast, 1,321 call contracts crossed the tape.

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