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Tickers in this Article: MMC
When Marsh & McLennan (NYSE:MMC) releases its third quarter earnings on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, it is expected to report earnings that are up 58.3% from a year ago. The consensus estimate is 38 cents per share, up from earnings of 24 cents per share a year ago.

Earnings play an important role in measuring the appropriate valuation for a stock. Investors should be cautious if the company's stock price is high but it consistently has low earnings. SEE: How To Decode A Company's Earnings Reports

What to Expect: The consensus estimate, while unchanged in the past month, is down from 39 cents three months ago. Analysts are expecting earnings of $2.15 per share for the fiscal year.

Revenue is expected to exceed last year's figure of $2.81 billion by 4.1% and come in at $2.92 billion for the quarter. Revenue for the fiscal year is expected to come in at $12.06 billion.

Company Performance: These last four quarters have marked revenue growth. It rose 3.3% in the second quarter, 5.8% in the first quarter, 4.4% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year and 11.2% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

MMC's P/E ratio of 17.8 is consistent with the industry average. Price/earnings ratios (P/E ratios) provide a measure of the relative value of a stock. To determine the P/E ratio, an investor divides the market price of the stock by the earnings-per-share (EPS) of the stock. SEE: Can Investors Trust the P/E Ratio?

The stock price has increased from $33.41 on August 3, 2012 to $34.03 over the past quarter. Marsh's stock price is currently on the rise. Since October 24, 2012 business days the stock has risen 84 cents per share.

The Competition: Marsh & McLennan is a global professional services firm providing advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy, and human capital. Twelve of 16 analysts give Marsh a buy rating. They are slightly more optimistic about the stock recently, as the number of buy ratings has risen slightly over the past three months.

The company's closest competitor in the insurance (miscellaneous) industry is Aon (AON). Analysts are more optimistic about Marsh than about Aon. Only seven out of 16 analysts rate the latter a buy.

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