Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Sequenom , a maker of diagnostic and genetic analysis solutions, slumped by as much as 11% after reporting worse-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings results.

So what: For the quarter, Sequenom reported a big surge in revenue to $33.7 million, up 117% over the year-ago period. The biggest driver was the MaterniT21 non-invasive prenatal test for Down syndrome -- which generated $21.1 million in sales, up from $2.8 million at this time last year. However, expenses also ballooned as more tests were performed and marketing costs rose, resulting in a 3% reduction in gross margin to 37% and a loss of $0.29 per share, $0.07 worse than analysts had projected.


Now what: As usual, Sequenom can't seem to get out of its own way. There has always been plenty of promise that its genetic analysis tools would be widely incorporated into the biomedical arena, but that just hasn't been the case as of yet. While I still see Sequenom as a company that could excel over the long term as genetic products are utilized more frequently to personalize patient care, I wouldn't be surprised if it continued to underperform the broader market over the next couple of quarters.

Craving more input? Start by adding Sequenom to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

While you can certainly make huge gains in life science companies like Sequenom, the best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.

The article Why Sequenom Shares Slumped originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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