CenturyLink Inc. Third Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, November 2, 2011. CenturyLink is a communications company that offers communications services, including Internet access, broadband services, and voice services.

CenturyLink, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of 34 cents per share, a decline of 59% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from 64 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It has been unchanged at 34 cents during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 49.6% versus last year to $1.71.

Past Earnings Performance: The company fell short of estimates last quarter after topping forecasts the quarter prior. In the second quarter, it reported net income of 64 cents per share against a mean estimate of 66 cents. Two quarters ago, it beat expectations by 5 cents with profit of 76 cents.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $4.6 billion in revenue this quarter, a rise of more than twofold from the year ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $18.64 billion for the year, a rise of more than twofold from last year’s revenue of $7.04 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 13 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and five rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the second quarter, profit fell 57.3% to $102 million (17 cents a share) from $238.8 million (79 cents a share) the year earlier, missing analyst expectations. Revenue rose more than twofold to $4.41 billion from $1.77 billion.

Key Stats:

A year-over-year revenue increase in the second quarter snapped a streak of three consecutive quarters of revenue declines. Revenue fell 5.8% in the first quarter, 5.9% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year and 6.8% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

The company’s gross margin shrank by 7.2 percentage points in the in the second quarter. Revenue rose 148.6% while cost of sales rose 202.2% to $1.78 billion from a year earlier.

Competitors to Watch: AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S), PAETEC Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:PAET), Cbeyond, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBEY), Telephone & Data Systems, Inc. (NYSE:TDS), tw telecom inc. (NASDAQ:TWTC), and IDT Corporation (NYSE:IDT).

Stock Price Performance: During September 29, 2011 to October 27, 2011, the stock price had risen $2.06 (6.1%) from $33.72 to $35.78. It saw one of its worst periods between July 1, 2011 and July 18, 2011 when shares fell for 11-straight days, falling 7.8% (-$3.14) over that span. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between October 3, 2011 and October 10, 2011 when shares rose for six-straight days, rising 4.5% (+$1.43) over that span. Shares are down $7.96 (-18.2%) year to date.

(Source: Xignite Financials)

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