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Infosys Plunges on Weak Revenue Outlook

Infosys (INFY) was making news for the wrong reasons Friday, with a discouraging outlook sending the stock reeling to one of the worst days in its history.

Recently, shares of the India-based IT consulting and outsourcing company were sinking 20.7% to $43.08 amid volume that was almost seven times heavier than an average day. Only a handful of stocks tracked by Yahoo! Finance data were getting hit harder anywhere in the U.S. market, while on the NYSE, it was the downside leader.

For Infosys, the selloff came after the company projected revenue growth of 6% to 10% for fiscal 2014. Infosys posted a top line of right under $7.4 billion in the year ended March 31. With that being the case, the forecast would imply sales of $7.84 billion to $8.14 billion for the year ahead. Even at the high end of that range, however, the results would fall short of the analyst consensus carried on FactSet, $8.32 billion, by almost $200 million.

Revenue in the just-completed fourth quarter was $1.94 billion, slightly under the $1.96 billion FactSet average estimate.

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Infosys Stock Chart

The company said in a press release that "global economic uncertainties remain challenging for the IT industry" but it added that it was "progressing well on our strategic direction of building a high-quality company which is relevant to our clients."

On a conference call to discuss the results, CEO S.D. Shibulal said the "road ahead is challenging" and that the business environment has changed considerably lately. "The signals are mixed, where significant macroeconomic factors affecting our major economies -- affecting all the major economies, which may have [an] impact on growth and pricing. The biggest challenge for us is to get growth back. And for that, we need to make investment in business," he said, according to a transcript released by Seeking Alpha.

The ongoing eurozone crisis, back in the headlines now because of banking trouble in Cyprus, is part of the reason for what Shibulal called a "very fragile" economic situation.

Shares of Infosys haven't had many days like this, though the stock, longer-term, has had its swings over the years. Going back to 1999, FactSet lists only two sessions in which it fell further. The single-biggest decline was a 32.2% plunge on April 10, 2003.

Coming into the trading day, Infosys was up 26.8% since the start of the year, according to Yahoo! Finance data. That's nearly all gone. The stock finished 2012 at $42.30.

Infosys is now at half of its all-time closing high at $86.25, reached in March 2000, although as recently as January 2011, it was above $77. In the past year, the shares have shed 4.3%, and in the past two, the decline is 24.3%.

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