Tractor Supply on Wednesday afternoon reported fourth-quarter earnings that topped estimates but issued 2012 profit guidance below what Wall Street was looking for.
The earnings report came three weeks after Tractor Supply executives raised their Q4 guidance following a strong end to 2011. Full-year profits per diluted share of $3.01 actually topped that higher guidance while the quarter's 96-cent profit was 4 cents above analysts' expectations. The latter was up 43 percent from the year before.
For 2012, Chairman and CEO Jim Wright said his team expects Tractor Supply to earn between $3.38 and $3.46 per diluted share. While that's still between 12 and 15 percent above 2011 numbers, the analysts covering the company have a consensus estimate of $3.48 per share.
Investors — who have pushed up Tractor Supply shares by almost 40 percent since Labor Day — reacted rather mildly to the negative guidance, however. In active after-hours trading, Tractor Supply (Ticker: TSCO) gave up less than 2 percent and stayed above the $80 level they recently crossed.
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