D&B shares down on weak 4Q

The Associated Press

Dun & Bradstreet Corp.'s shares fell Tuesday following a disappointing fourth-quarter, as North America business slumps.

THE SPARK: After the market closed Monday, the company said it earned $96 million, or $2.20 per share, for the period that ended Dec. 31. That compares with $93.4 million, or $1.93 per share, a year ago. It made $2.38 per share on an adjusted basis in the recent quarter, excluding one-time items.

Total revenue fell 7 percent to $463.1 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected the company to earn $2.46 per share on revenue of $477.9 million.

THE BIG PICTURE: Dun & Bradstreet, based in Short Hills, N.J., makes money selling credit and business data to financial firms, government agencies and others.

The company said it was unhappy with its top line performance and plans to make substantial investments in data and analytics to drive growth in North America.

THE ANALYSIS: Stifel analyst Shlomo Rosenbaum said the biggest issue was the 4 percent revenue decline in the company's North American risk management solutions business. The analyst said revenue for this business has now declined for four straight quarters and seems to be a "slowly melting ice cube".

Rosenbaum also said that the modest revenue guidance of a flat to 3 percent gain is troublesome, and he questioned whether D&B's new products are gaining traction in the market. If they are, the analyst wondered if the company is pricing other products to keep clients.

SHARE ACTION: Shares fell $5.32, or 6.2 percent, to $79.96 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded from $62.62 to $86.52 in the past 52 weeks.