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Why Axon Enterprise's Shares Plunged 14% Today

Travis Hoium, The Motley Fool

What happened 

Shares of Taser and body camera maker Axon Enterprise (NASDAQ: AAXN) fell as much as 14.3% in early trading Wednesday after it reported fourth-quarter 2018 results. Shares recovered slightly near midday but were still down 11.1% at 11:15 a.m. EST.

So what

Revenue was up 21.3% to $114.8 million, and the company swung from a net loss to a profit of $2.1 million, or $0.03 per share. On a non-GAAP basis, which is what analysts compare to, earnings were $0.08 per share. Analysts were expecting $104.3 million of revenue and $0.11 in earnings per share.

Officer wearing Axon body camera.

Image source: Axon Enterprise.

The top line topping expectations is impressive and shows the company's investment in growth. But this year, investors were hoping some of that growth would flow to the bottom line, and that's not the case today. 

Now what

High-growth companies have to balance top-line growth with bottom-line results, and for years, Axon has chosen growing revenue over growing profits. It's making the same kinds of decisions right now, but investors have set a higher bar for the bottom line. Long term, an earnings miss or two isn't going to hurt the company, and I think the growth Axon is demonstrating is impressive, but with investors expecting better earnings results, the stock is trading lower today.

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Travis Hoium owns shares of Axon Enterprise. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Axon Enterprise. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.