Why did this ASX 200 stock just dive 7%?

Investors have been hitting the sell button today. But why?

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The Brambles Ltd (ASX: BXB) share price is having a tough time on Tuesday.

In morning trade, the ASX 200 stock is down almost 7% to $14.59.

Why is this ASX 200 stock being sold off?

Investors have been heading to the exits today after the logistics solutions company released its third-quarter update.

According to the release, Brambles achieved sales revenue from continuing operations of US$4,872.3 million for the first nine months of FY 2024. This represents an increase of 9% (7% in constant currency) over the prior corresponding period.

While on paper this looks like a decent performance, investors may be disappointed because it marks a slowdown in growth compared to the first half. For the first six months of FY 2024, the ASX 200 stock reported sales growth of 12%.

Management advised that its third-quarter performance was impacted by a reduction in rollover contributions from prior-year pricing initiatives to recover the cost-to-serve in CHEP Americas and CHEP EMEA.

It notes that rollover pricing contributed five-percentage points to price growth with pricing actions taken in the current year to recover the cost-to-serve delivering three-percentage points of growth in both the nine-month and third quarter periods. This is down from an eight-percentage points contribution during the first half.

It is worth noting that this result remains in line with expectations for the full year. Management has been guiding to sales revenue growth of between 6% and 8% in constant currency for FY 2024.

But based on the share price reaction today, it seems that the market was expecting the ASX 200 stock to deliver the top end of its guidance range or even outperform it.

Management has also reaffirmed the rest of its guidance for FY 2024. It continues to forecast underlying profit growth of between 13% and 15% at constant currency, and positive free cash flow before dividends of between US$700 million and US$800 million.

It also expects its dividend payout ratio to be consistent with its dividend policy of paying out 45% to 60% of underlying profit after finance costs and tax.

Management commentary

The ASX 200 stock's CEO, Graham Chipchase, appeared to be pleased with the quarter. He said:

Revenue growth was in line with expectations for the first nine months of FY24 as the rate of price growth continues to moderate in line with changes in our cost-to-serve and as we cycle higher prior-year pricing comparatives. Our year-to-date performance has given us the confidence to reconfirm our full-year guidance for revenue growth, strong operating leverage, and another year of improved free cash flow generation.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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