AutoNation Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component AutoNation (NYSE:AN) will unveil its latest earnings tomorrow, Thursday, January 31, 2013. AutoNation offers a range of automotive products and services, including new and used vehicles, parts and automotive repair, and maintenance services, as well as automotive finance and insurance products.

AutoNation Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average analyst estimate is for net income of 65 cents per share, a rise of 27.5% from the company’s actual earnings for the year-ago quarter. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved up from 63 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate was unchanged. It has risen during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 29.4% compared to last year’s $2.51.

Past Earnings Performance: The company missed estimates last quarter after beating forecasts in the prior two. In the third quarter, the company reported profit of 66 cents per share versus a mean estimate of net income of 67 cents per share. In the second quarter, the company beat estimates by 6 cents.

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A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit rose 15.4% to $81.6 million (66 cents a share) from $70.7 million (48 cents a share) the year earlier, but fell short analyst expectations. Revenue rose 12.6% to $3.93 billion from $3.49 billion.

Here’s how AutoNation traded following its last earnings report 3 months ago and leading up to its upcoming earnings report this week:

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts predict a rise of 9% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $4.01 billion.

Analyst Ratings: There are mostly holds on the stock with eight of 12 analysts surveyed giving that rating.

Key Stats:

The company enters this earnings announcement with substantial revenue momentum. The company has averaged year-over-year revenue growth of 13.8% over the last four quarters.

After experiencing income increases the last three quarters, the company is hoping to keep the good news coming with this earnings announcement. Net income rose 5.2% in the first quarter and 9.3% in the second quarter before increasing again in the third quarter.

Balance Sheet Analysis: The company’s current ratio of assets to liabilities came in at 1.04 last quarter. The current ratio is an indication of a firm’s liquidity and ability to meet creditor demands and generally, for every dollar the company owes in the short term, it has that figure available in assets that can be converted to cash in the short term. The company regressed in this liquidity measure from 1.06 in the second quarter to the last quarter driven in part by an increase in liabilities. Current liabilities increased 4.4% to $2.83 billion while assets rose 2.6% to $2.96 billion.

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