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Tickers in this Article: AMP
Ameriprise (NYSE:AMP) will release its third quarter earnings on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. Analysts have become increasingly bearish on the company over the last month, with the consensus analyst estimate slipping from $1.42 a share to the current prediction of earnings of $1.36 a share.

Investors care about earnings because they drive stock prices. Strong earnings generally result in the stock price moving up and vice versa. SEE: 5 Tricks Companies Use During Earnings Season

What to Expect: Ameriprise is expected to report $1.36 per share, up 30.8% from a year ago when the company reported earnings of $1.04 per share.

This is a drop from the consensus estimate three months ago of $1.42. For the fiscal year, analysts are projecting earnings of $5.46 per share.

Revenue is expected to exceed last year's figure of $2.47 billion by 7.4% and come in at $2.65 billion for the quarter. Revenue for the fiscal year is expected to come in at $10.55 billion.

Company Performance: For the last three quarters, Ameriprise's revenue has been falling. It dropped 4.2% to $2.52 billion in second quarter. Prior to that, the figure declined 3.5% in the first quarter and 1.1% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

While the company has been profitable for the last eight quarters, income has fallen year-over-year by an average of 14.2% over the past four quarters.

AMP's P/E ratio of 13.9 falls below the industry average of 20.84. Companies with low P/E ratios may find it easier to surprise the market to the upside, even if their financial performance is not as strong as that of companies with high P/E ratios. Price/earnings ratios (P/E ratios) provide a measure of the relative value of a stock. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: How To Find P/E And PEG Ratios

Over the past quarter, the stock price has increased from $49.16 on July 23, 2012 to $58.92. Ameriprise's best recent streak was when its price gained $2.54 per share between September 12, 2012 and September 14, 2012.

The Competition: Ameriprise Financial provides financial planning, products, and services through its subsidiaries. The company offers solutions for its clients' cash and liquidity, asset accumulation, income protection, and estate and wealth transfer needs. The company's closest competitor in the investment services industry, Raymond James (RJF), will report earnings on October 24, 2012. Analysts are expecting earnings of 63 cents per share for Raymond James, up 16.7% from last year's earnings of 54 cents per share. Analysts are more optimistic about Ameriprise than about Raymond James. Only five out of seven analysts rate the latter a buy compared to six of nine for the former.

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