Market Overview

Earnings Expectations for the Week of January 2

The week (and the new year) will start off quietly, as far as quarterly reports are concerned. Things will pick up a little steam later in the week as Apollo Group (NASDAQ: APOL), Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO), Monsanto (NYSE: MON) and Mosaic (NYSE: MOS) each step into the earnings spotlight. But the new earnings season does not officially get under way until Alcoa (NYSE: AA) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) release their fourth-quarter results the following week.

Mosaic

This fertilizer producer has seen double-digit year-over-year revenue growth for the past four quarters. When the Minnesota-based company announces its fiscal second-quarter 2012 results on Wednesday, it is expected to say that earnings rose 27.5% per share from a year ago to $1.30. That estimate has dropped from $1.35 over the past 30 days. Revenues are forecast to decrease 5.0% to $2.5 billion. Mosaic earnings fell short of consensus estimates in the first quarter after beats in the previous three quarters. The share price has declined more than 25% over the past six months. In that time, the stock's performance has been largely in line with competitors such as Potash (NYSE: POT) and Agrium (NYSE: AGU).

Constellation Brands

Analysts are looking for this producer and marketer of alcoholic beverages, scheduled to report Thursday morning, to post per-share earnings that declined almost 20% year over year to $0.53. And for the fiscal third quarter during which the company purchased the remainder of the Ruffino wine business, revenues are expected to total $720.4 million. That would be a 25.4% decrease from a year ago. And in the current quarter, revenue is also expected to decline, but EPS so far are expected to be up year over year. Note that earnings have topped consensus estimates in the past eight quarters. Though shares jumped about 6% in the past month, they are down about 5% over the past six months. The stock has underperformed rival Diageo (NYSE: DEO) in that time.

Monsanto

During the three months that ended in November, this biotech giant acquired Beeologics, a pest-control technology startup. On Thursday morning, Monsanto is expected to post $0.16 per share earnings and revenues of $2.0 billion for the fiscal first quarter of 2012. That would be up from $0.02 per share and $1.8 billion in the year-ago quarter. Note that the EPS estimate is also up from $0.12 per share 60 days ago, and that analysts have underestimated Monsanto's per share earnings results in the past four quarters. The share price has pulled back about 11% from a recent 52-week high. Over the past six months, the stock's performance has been largely in line with the broader markets.

Family Dollar

The consensus forecast for this discount retailer calls for $0.67 per share earnings in Thursday afternoon's report. That would up from $0.58 in the fiscal first quarter of last year. And revenues are expected to have risen 8.4% to $2.2 billion for the quarter in which the company expanded its reach into California. And so far, EPS and revenues are expected to grow sequentially and year over year in the current quarter. Analysts underestimated per-share earnings in four of the past six quarters. The long range EPS growth forecast is 14.9%. The share price is more than 17% higher than a year ago. But the stock has underperformed competitors such as Dollar General (NYSE: DG) over the past six months.

Apollo Group

Analysts predict that this education provider will report Thursday afternoon that its earnings fell 27.6% year over year to $1.18 per share. But note that the EPS estimate is up from $1.13 some 60 days ago, and that analysts have underestimated EPS in the past ten quarters. In the fiscal first quarter, the Phoenix, Ariz.-based company lifted its 2012 outlook after better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. Revenues for that period are expected to total $1.2 billion, a 12.5% decrease from a year ago. The share price is near the 52-week high after rising 36% in the past quarter. The stock has outperformed Career Education (NASDAQ: CECO) and DeVry (NYSE: DV) in the past six months.

And Others

Other companies scheduled to report quarterly results this week include AZZ (NYSE: AZZ), Global Payments (NYSE: GPN), IHS (NYSE: IHS), MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE: MSM), PriceSmart (NASDAQ: PSMT), Robbins & Myers (NYSE: RBN) and Worthington Industries (NYSE: WOR). Analysts expect them to post year-over-year earnings growth. But Progress Software (NASDAQ: PRGS), UniFirst (NYSE: UNF) and Xyratex (NASDAQ: XRTX) are expected to post earnings declines this week, while a net loss is anticipated from Texas Industries (NYSE: TXI).

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