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Tickers in this Article: KR, PBY, COST, IPSU
Quarterly earnings results that have come in ahead of analyst expectations recently have helped fuel a rise in the broader markets during the month of November. As we move into December, the number of companies reporting will drop off significantly, but there are still some notable names set to report their results in the days ahead. Here are four companies that will be reporting earnings next week.

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Retailers with Steady Sales

When the food retailer Kroeger (NYSE: KR) reports its Q3 results on Monday of next week, analysts will be looking for the company to post a 5.1% year-over-year decline in EPS along with a 0.7% increase in sales. Year-to-date, shares of Kroeger have fallen 13.4%. If the company is able to meet or top these estimates, it could be enough to maintain the momentum behind its more recent stock price recovery.

After subtracting out fuel sales, total sales at Kroeger increased 3.5% in Q2 over the prior year quarter. Earnings per diluted share fell by 7.1% over the same time period. The company was forced to reduce its full year guidance at the end of Q2 due to the lingering weakness in the overall economy.

Pep Boys (NYSE: PBY) will also report its quarterly results after the market close on Monday. Analysts are expecting the company to swing to a net profit of four cents per share from a net loss of 13 cents per share in the same period last year. Sales are expected to rise 0.9% versus the year-ago quarter. Shares of this automotive service retailer have soared 95.3% so far this year.

A Wholesale Success

Costco (Nasdaq: COST) is expected to check in with a 7.7% drop in its fiscal Q1 EPS when the company reports on Thursday of next week. Analysts are expecting sales growth of 4.8% on a year-over-year basis. Costco shares have appreciated 14.0% year-to-date.

In October, the wholesale chain reported a 3% rise in comparable store sales for its fiscal Q4 after excluding fuel sales. Company management noted that Costco has been saddled with a weak economic environment and higher employee benefit costs that it has had to overcome. Revenue from membership fees was up 3.4% when compared to the company's Q4 results in 2008.

Sweet Returns
On Tuesday of next week, Imperial Sugar (Nasdaq: IPSU), a major processor and marketer of refined sugar in the U.S., will announce its fiscal Q4 earnings. Wall Street is looking for the company to move to a net profit of 14 cents per share from a net loss of 44 cents per share in the same period last year. Sales are projected to jump 30.5% versus the same time period in 2008. The stock has ticked up 5.3% since the beginning of 2009.

The Bottom Line

With the exception of Imperial Sugar which should report impressive top-line growth, most of these other retailers reporting their earnings next week should check in with flat to slightly positive sales growth. In light of the macroeconomic conditions they are operating under, such performances may be sufficient to keep their share prices heading in a positive direction. (Read Analyzing Retail Stocks to learn about the most important metrics to look at when analyzing retail stocks.)

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