I just read the transcript to the conference call. As you said, it may have been a broader issue, however, there is some info in the conference call that may give some pause. TAL did benefit from 3 "events" in their earnings.
First, there was a $2.5m gain from one customer who lost 1,400 containers. This was largely expected as I remember them discussing this on the last quarterly call, i.e., they were expecting the customer to make this declaration and now they have. This, obviously is a one time event. Secondly, the earnings increased becuase they changed the way they account for depreciation. They benefited by $4.9m. This is not a one time event and, I beelieve, will perculate through the earnings for years (although diminishing significantly each year) until all of the units on the old depreciation schedule conclude. Third, the earnings were impacted by a change to when they start accounting for the depreciation. This was a $1.6m benefit. This is also not a one time event , but should only affect earnings for a year on the quarter-to-quarter comparisons.
However, they also reported some positive news as well - revenue up, utilization up, used container prices up, anda further lowering of thier interest rates.
So, at first glance, on a gut reaction, some may have seen the 3 events as having a disproportionate, non-ongoing benefit and were selling. I think on Q-to-Q basis this might be true, but it doesn't really affect the long term prospects of the company, nor its future earnings. The stock has recovered a lot the loss already as these items are digested. They are making good money now ans have a great dividend. Can you imagine what it might be like when shipping acutally picks up as the economy recovers?