Airgas Inc. Third Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Airgas, Inc. (NYSE:ARG) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, January 26, 2012. Airgas, through its subsidiaries, distributes industrial, medical, and specialty gases and hardgoods in the United States. It offers a range of gases, including nitrogen and helium, as well as welding and fuel gases. .

Airgas, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet.

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for net income of 97 cents per share, a rise of 21.2% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved up from 96 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up. It has been unchanged at 97 cents during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting profit of $4.04 per share, a rise of 21% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company beat estimates by one cent, coming in at net income of $1.03 a share versus the estimate of profit of $1.02 a share. It marked the fourth straight quarter of beating estimates.

Investing Insights: Will the iPad 3 Be the Next Catalyst for Apple’s Stock?

Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 10.7% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $1.14 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 11 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and two rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the second quarter, profit rose 16.7% to $77.7 million ($1.01 a share) from $66.6 million (78 cents a share) the year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations. Revenue rose 11.8% to $1.19 billion from $1.06 billion.

Key Stats:

The company has seen net income rise in three straight quarters. Net income rose 15.5% in the first quarter and 56.1% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue rose 10.6% in the first quarter from the year earlier, climbed 12.5% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-ago quarter and 9.8% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

Competitors to Watch: Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD), Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX), and Rentech, Inc. (AMEX:RTK).

Stock Price Performance: During October 24, 2011 to January 20, 2012, the stock price had risen $10.41 (15.1%) from $68.99 to $79.40. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between August 19, 2011 and August 31, 2011 when shares rose for nine-straight days, rising 8.9% (+$5.24) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between August 12, 2011 and August 19, 2011 when shares fell for six-straight days, falling 6.3% (-$3.97) over that span.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

Investing Insights: Will the iPad 3 Be the Next Catalyst for Apple’s Stock?