Which Top 5 Super Market Stocks Have the Strongest Earnings Trends?

Earnings trends are extremely important when evaluating stocks. At Wall St. Cheat Sheet, we view increasing earnings quarter-over-quarter as a simple way to gauge whether costs and the business model are stable. Then we like to analyze whether the company is outperforming peers in the sector. This is what we call the “E-Squared” investment analysis (‘E = Earnings Are Increasing Quarter-Over-Quarter’ + ‘E = Excellent Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector’).

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Here’s your Cheat Sheet to how the top 5 super market stocks rank via earnings trends:

Ingles Markets Inc. (NASDAQ:IMKTA): Current Price $19.60

Fiscal Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Revenue ($) in millions 3,238 3,251 3,390 3,560 3,709
Diluted EPS ($) 2.13 1.14 1.26 1.60 1.79

Revenue and EPS have shown decent growth at Ingles Markets between 2009 and 2012.

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Next, our CHEAT SHEET investing framework asks us to drill down to the recent quarterly data:

Quarter Dec. 31, 2011 Mar. 31, 2012 Jun. 30, 2012 Sep. 30, 2012 Dec. 31, 2012
Revenue ($) in millions 918.24 881.67 917.76 991.77 932.79
Diluted EPS ($) 0.43 0.27 0.54 0.55 0.48

Quarterly sales have remained mostly flat though EPS showed an improving trend between March 2012 and September 2012. Unfortunately it dipped in the latest quarter…