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Tickers in this Article: SYY
Sysco (NYSE:SYY) will release its first quarter results on Monday, November 5, 2012. Analysts are expecting earnings per share of 50 cents after the company booked a profit of only 55 cents a share a year earlier.

Earnings are perhaps the single most studied number in a company's financial statements because they show a company's profitability. SEE: 5 Tricks Companies Use During Earnings Season

What to Expect: Analysts are expecting Sysco to announce earnings of 50 cents per share, 9.1% less than a year ago, when the company reported earnings of 55 cents per share.

Despite rising from 48 cents over the past three months, the consensus estimate hasn't changed in the last 30 days. Analysts are projecting earnings of $2.01 per share for the fiscal year.

Sysco is expected to beat last year's reported revenue of $10.59 billion and come in at $11.14 billion for the quarter. Sysco is expected to report revenue of $44.55 billion for the fiscal year.

Company Performance: Revenue for Sysco has been on the rise for four consecutive quarters. It increased 5.9% to $11.05 billion in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year. Prior to that, the figure rose 7.6% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year, 9.2% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year and 8.6% in the first quarter of the last fiscal year.

While the company has been profitable for the last eight quarters, income has fallen year-over-year by an average of 2.4% over the past four quarters.

The P/E ratio for SYY is 16.2, below the industry average of 23.64. A low P/E ratio may indicate that the market expects relatively slower earnings growth. A company's price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio) provides a measure of how expensive or cheap a stock is. 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: How To Find P/E And PEG Ratios

The stock price has risen from $28.80 on August 2, 2012 to $30.86 over the past quarter. The price of Sysco's stock recently went on a hot streak as it rose 64 cents per share between August 21, 2012 and September 25, 2012. It finished at $30.87.

The Competition: Sysco, through its subsidiaries and divisions, is a distributor of food and related products. Most analysts (seven of 10) give Sysco a hold rating. This rating has been steady for the past three months.

The company's closest competitor in the retail (grocery) industry is Supervalu (SVU). Analysts are more optimistic about Sysco than about Supervalu. Only one out of 13 analysts rate the latter a buy compared to two of 10 for the former.

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