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Tickers in this Article: SE
Spectra Energy (NYSE:SE) will release its third quarter results on Thursday, November 1, 2012. Analysts are expecting earnings per share of 31 cents after the company booked a profit of only 38 cents a share a year earlier.

In most situations, when earnings do not meet analyst estimates, a business' stock price will tend to drop. On the other hand, when actual earnings beat estimates by a significant amount, the share price will likely surge. SEE: How To Decode A Company's Earnings Reports

What to Expect: Analysts are projecting earnings of 31 cents per share for Spectra, 18.4% less than a year ago, when the company reported earnings of 38 cents per share.

Three months ago, the consensus estimate was 36 cents. For the fiscal year, analysts are projecting earnings of $1.58 per share.

Revenue is expected to exceed last year's figure of $1.12 billion by 2.4% and come in at $1.15 billion for the quarter. Revenue for the fiscal year is expected to come in at $5.28 billion.

Company Performance: Over the last four quarters, revenue has increased by an average 0.7%. The most significant increase took place in the third quarter of the last fiscal year, when it rose 10.2% from the year-earlier quarter.

SE's P/E ratio of 17.6 falls below the industry average of 22.2. A low P/E might arise due to substantial inherent risk of the firm and its operations, poor return on equity, or improper valuation of the market. The price/earnings ratio is calculated by taking a stock price and dividing it by the earnings-per-share (EPS). High P/E stocks could be "growth" stocks, while low PE stocks may be "value" stocks. SEE: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

Since July 31, 2012, the stock price has dipped 5.4% to $29.02 from $30.69. Currently, Spectra's stock is on a downward trend. The share price has fallen $1.14 since October 17, 2012.

The Competition: Spectra Energy, through its subsidiaries and equity affiliates, owns and operates natural gas-related energy assets. The company's closest competitor in the natural gas utilities industry, Enterprise Products Partners (EPD), will report earnings on November 1, 2012. Analysts are expecting earnings of 60 cents per share for Enterprise Products Partners, up 9.1% from last year's earnings of 55 cents per share. Analysts are more optimistic about Spectra than about Enterprise Products Partners. Only 16 out of 17 analysts rate the latter a buy compared to four of 11 for the former.

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