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Tickers in this Article: SRE
Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) will announce its third quarter earnings on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Analysts have become increasingly bullish on the company in the last month, with consensus earnings per share estimate moving up from 96 cents a share to the current expectation of earnings of $1 a share.

A business' earnings are the main determinant of its share price because earnings and the circumstances relating to them can indicate whether the business will be profitable and successful in the long run. SEE: 12 Things You Need To Know About Financial Statements

What to Expect: The consensus estimate has slipped from $1.06 in the last 90 days. Analysts are projecting earnings of $4.19 per share for the fiscal year.

Sempra Energy is expected to report revenue of $2.32 billion for the quarter, down by 9.9% from last year's figure of $2.58 billion. Sempra Energy is expected to report revenue of $10.12 billion for the fiscal year.

Company Performance: Over the last four quarters, revenue has increased by an average 4.2%. The biggest jump was a rise of 21.7% from the year-earlier quarter in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

SRE has a P/E ratio of 19.1, high compared to the industry average of 15.11. This could mean that the market is expecting big things over the next few months or years. A simple P/E ratio can reveal the stock's real market value and show how the valuation compares to its industry group or a benchmark like the S&P 500 Index. A high or low P/E ratio is not good or bad in and of itself, but a company trading with a high P/E ratio must continue to post strong financial performance or its stock price is likely to fall. SEE: Investment Valuation Ratios: Price/Earnings Ratio

The stock price has fallen slightly over the past quarter, from $70.22 on August 3, 2012 to its current price, $69.75. Sempra Energy's best recent streak was when its price gained $2.85 per share between September 27, 2012 and October 8, 2012.

The Competition: Sempra Energy is an energy services holding company. With its subsidiaries, the company provides electric, natural gas and other energy-rated products and services worldwide. It also focuses on developing energy infrastructure and operating utilities. Most analysts (five of nine) rate Sempra Energy a buy. Opinion about the stock has worsened recently, as buy ratings have dropped slightly over the last three months.

The company's closest competitor in the natural gas utilities industry is MDU Resources (MDU). Analysts are more optimistic about Sempra Energy than about MDU Resources. Only three out of seven analysts rate the latter a buy.

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