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Tickers in this Article: MOS
Analysts are expecting a drop in profit for Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) when it reports its results for the first quarter on Tuesday, October 2, 2012. The company reported profit of $1.17 a year ago, but the current consensus estimate anticipates earnings per share of $1.15.

Investors care about earnings because they drive stock prices. Strong earnings generally result in the stock price moving up and vice versa. SEE: How To Decode A Company's Earnings Reports

What to Expect: Analysts are anticipating that Mosaic will report earnings of $1.15 per share, down 1.7% from a year ago, when the company reported earnings of $1.17 per share.

The consensus estimate is down from three months ago when it was $1.20. For the fiscal year, analysts are projecting earnings of $5.03 per share.

Revenue for the quarter is expected to be $2.54 billion, short of last year's reported figure of $3.08 billion by 17.6%. Revenue of $9.63 billion is expected for the fiscal year.

Company Performance: The average revenue increase over the past four quarters is 12.8%. The biggest increase was in the first quarter of the last fiscal year, up 40.9% from the year-earlier quarter.

The P/E ratio for MOS is 13.0, above the industry average of 9.57. 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. The P/E ratio has been used for ages by analysts and still remains one of the most relevant pieces of stock valuation. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: Understanding The P/E Ratio

The Competition: The Mosaic Company is a producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the global agriculture industry. The majority of analysts (14 of 19) rate Mosaic a buy. They have grown a bit more optimistic about the stock, as the number of buy ratings has inched up over the past three months.

The company's closest competitor in the non-metallic mining industry is Potash Corp./Saskatchewan (POT). Analysts are more optimistic about Mosaic than about Potash Corp./Saskatchewan. Only 16 out of 24 analysts rate the latter a buy.

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