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Bears Tune In to RadioShack's First-Quarter Warning

RSH posted a 79% drop in its fourth-quarter profit

by 2/21/2012 2:00:14 PM
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RadioShack Corporation (RSH - 7.22) took its turn on the earnings stage this morning, and released its fourth-quarter results. RSH saw its quarterly profit plummet 79% to $11.9 million, or 12 cents per share, from a year-ago profit of $57 million, or 51 cents per share. Revenue, however, increased 5.9% to $1.39 billion on a 2.2% rise in same-store sales. The results fell in line with estimates, as RSH warned of a challenging quarter back on Jan. 31.

"We are anticipating the first quarter results to be even more difficult than the fourth quarter of 2012," said President and CEO Jim Gooch. "However, after an extremely challenging first quarter, we expect to make steady progress throughout the remainder of the year."

Traders have reacted severely to the news, knocking RSH down more than 8%, exacerbating its 18.8% year-to-date decline, and its roughly 50% deficit for the past year. On a relative-strength basis, the stock has underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 62.3% over the past three months. At last look, the shares are well below the $8 level, which has acted as a ceiling for the past three weeks. Currently, RSH is within range of tagging a new-multi-year low below the $7.15 mark.

Weekly

Many traders are betting on RSH's slide to continue, short interest swelled 19.7% during the past two reporting periods, and now accounts for 17.9% of the equity's available float. At RSH's average pace of trading, these pessimistic positions represent just over two sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, suggesting the bearish bandwagon is far from overloaded.

Likewise, most brokerage firms are already skeptical toward RSH. Zacks tallies one "strong buy" endorsement, versus 16 lukewarm "holds," two "sells" and two "strong sell" suggestions. Furthermore, Thomson Reuters places the average 12-month price target at $9.41, representing a 30% premium to today's intraday low of $7.20.

Given RSH's glum price action, a continued migration to the bearish camp could create an additional headwind for the electronics retailer.

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