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Tickers in this Article: SYY
Analysts are expecting a drop in profit for Sysco (NYSE:SYY) when it reports its results for the fourth quarter on Monday, August 13, 2012. The company reported profit of 57 cents a year ago, but the current consensus estimate anticipates earnings per share of 54 cents.

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: Everything Investors Need To Know About Earnings

What to Expect: Analysts are anticipating that Sysco will report earnings of 54 cents per share, down 5.3% from a year ago, when the company reported earnings of 57 cents per share.

Three months ago, the consensus estimate was 55 cents. For the fiscal year, analysts are projecting earnings of $1.93 per share.

Sysco is expected to beat last year's reported revenue of $10.43 billion and come in at $11.05 billion for the quarter. Revenue for the fiscal year is expected to come in at $42.29 billion.

Company Performance: In the past four quarters, revenue has shown consistent growth. It rose 7.6% in the third quarter, 9.2% in the second quarter, 8.6% in the first quarter and 0.7% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

SYY is in line with the industry average with a P/E ratio of 14.8. A company's price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio) provides a measure of how expensive or cheap a stock is. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: How To Use The P/E Ratio And PEG To Tell The Future Of A Stock

Over the past quarter, the stock price has increased from $27.88 on May 10, 2012 to $28.86. Sysco's best recent streak was when its price gained $1.13 per share between June 26, 2012 and July 2, 2012.

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. Buy ratings have increased slightly over the last three months.

The company's closest competitor in the retail (grocery) industry is Core-Mark Holding (CORE). Analysts are less optimistic about Sysco than about Core-Mark Holding. Three out of three analysts rate the latter a buy compared to two of 10 for the former.

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