CenturyTel First Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component CenturyTel (NYSE:CTL) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, May 9, 2012. CenturyLink is a communications company that offers communications services, including Internet access, broadband services, and voice services.

CenturyTel Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for net income of 59 cents per share, a decline of 22.4% 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 63 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It has been unchanged at 59 cents during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 8.6% versus last year to $2.40.

Past Earnings Performance: The company fell short of estimates last quarter after being in line with forecasts the quarter prior. In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, it reported profit of 55 cents per share versus a mean estimate of 61 cents. Two quarters ago, it reported net income of 34 cents per share.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 3.1% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $4.61 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are high on the stock, with 14 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and five rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, profit fell 52.5% to $107 million (15 cents a share) from $225.2 million (74 cents a share) the year earlier, missing analyst expectations. Revenue rose more than twofold to $4.65 billion from $1.72 billion.

Key Stats:

On the top line, the company is looking to build on three-straight revenue increases heading into this earnings announcement. Revenue increased more than twofold in the second quarter of the last fiscal year and more than twofold in the third quarter of the last fiscal year before climbing again in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year of the last fiscal year.

The company is trying to stem some negative momentum heading into this earnings announcement. Profit has dropped by a year-over-year average of 41.4% over the past four quarters.

Stock Price Performance: Between February 7, 2012 and May 3, 2012, the stock price rose $1.94 (5.3%), from $36.81 to $38.75. It saw one of its worst periods between July 1, 2011 and July 18, 2011 when shares fell for 11 straight days, dropping 7.8% (-$3.02) over that span. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between February 6, 2012 and February 13, 2012, when shares rose for six straight days, increasing 2.6% (+95 cents) over that span.

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

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