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Tickers in this Article: CMCSA
Comcast (Nasdaq:CMCSA) will release its third quarter results on Friday, October 26, 2012. Analysts are expecting the company to report a profit of 46 cents a share, up from 33 cents a year ago.

Investors care about earnings because they drive stock prices. Strong earnings generally result in the stock price moving up and vice versa. SEE: 12 Things You Need To Know About Financial Statements

What to Expect: The consensus estimate for Comcast's earnings is 46 cents per share, up 39.4% from a year ago when the company reported earnings of 33 cents per share.

After rising from 45 cents three months ago, the consensus estimate has remained unchanged in the last month. Analysts are projecting earnings of $1.93 per share for the fiscal year.

Comcast is expected to report revenue of $16.06 billion for the quarter, beating last year's figure of $14.34 billion by 12%. Comcast is expected to report revenue of $62 billion for the fiscal year.

Company Performance: Revenue has risen for four consecutive quarters now. It rose 6.1% in the second quarter, 22.7% in the first quarter, 54.7% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year and 51.1% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

Compared to the industry average of 18.23, CMCSA's P/E ratio of 21.2 is quite high. A company with a high P/E ratio will eventually have to live up to the high rating by substantially increasing its earnings, or the price will need to drop. Price/earnings ratios (P/E ratios) provide a measure of the relative value of a stock. From the investor's perspective, a stock with a lower ratio is relatively cheaper than a stock with a higher ratio. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Earnings Ratio

The stock price has risen from $31.36 on July 25, 2012 to $37.03 over the past quarter. Comcast's stock price is currently in the middle of a rising streak. The stock has risen $1.87 per share since October 10, 2012.

The Competition: Comcast provides cable and communications services to residential and commercial customers. The majority of analysts (18 of 22) rate Comcast a buy. Buy ratings have increased slightly over the last three months.

The company's closest competitor in the broadcasting and cable tv industry is Disney (DIS). Analysts are more optimistic about Comcast than about Disney. Only 15 out of 25 analysts rate the latter a buy.

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