Earnings Recap: 3 Companies in the Spotlight

Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY): The electronics retailer saw shares bump higher today, up 4.5% on a strong earnings report. Net income for Best Buy stores fell to $136 million (35 cents/share) vs. $155 million (36 cents/share) a year earlier. A decline of 12.3% from the year earlier quarter, While revenues rose 1% YoY. The company topped mean analyst estimates recording earnings of 33 cents per share. Gross margin shrunk 0.9 percentage point to 25%. The contraction appeared to be driven by rising costs as the figure rose 2.2% from the year earlier quarter while revenue rose 1%. Brian J. Dunn, CEO of Best Buy, commented on the results, saying, “I’d like to thank our employees around the world for their continued efforts to serve our customers and focus on profitable returns for our shareholders. We’re pleased that our actions improved sales trends within the quarter, with continued double-digit growth online and strong growth of mobile phones and connections.”

See how competitors fared in a good day on Wall Street: hhgregg, Inc. (NYSE:HGG), GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME), , Systemax (NYSE:SYX), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY).

FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE:FDS): is a provider of integrated global financial and economic information, including fundamental financial data on tens of thousands of companies worldwide. The company published its most recent earnings today, landing on target to match analyst expectations of 92 cents/share earnings. Revenues for FactSet rose 14.6% to $183.6 million YoY. The company has now seen net income rise in three-straight quarters. In the second quarter, net income rose 25.3% and in the first quarter, the figure rose 15.1%. According to Philip A. Hadley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, “FactSet continued its strong performance during the third quarter as key operating metrics experienced healthy growth. It is gratifying to see our hard work and investments show such positive results.” FDS shares slid -4.21% in trading today.

Watch for these companies to keep pace: MSCI Inc. (NYSE:MSCI), Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ:MORN), andThomson Reuters Corp. (NYSE:TRI).

GT Solar International, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOLR): a global provider of polysilicon production technology, and sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the solar, LED and other specialty markets, today announced an improved outlook for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 ending July 2, 2011, reiterated its full year fiscal 2012 guidance and revised upward its backlog outlook for fiscal 2012.

The company had previously indicated on its last earnings conference call on May 24 that it expected revenues between $140 million to $150 million, EPS fully-diluted in the range of $0.08 to $0.11 and gross margin of approximately 37% for first quarter fiscal 2012. SOLR now expects first quarter fiscal 2012 revenue of approximately $225 million based on sooner than expected completion of DSS™650 upgrades in Q1, allowing for Q1 revenue recognition for certain PV orders which had been previously expected in Q2. The fully-diluted EPS for Q1 is now expected to be approximately $0.30, and gross margin for Q1 is now expected to be approximately 43% to 44%.

The company reiterated its full fiscal year 2012 guidance provided on May 24, 2011, which includes: revenue in the range of $1 billion to $1.1 billion; earnings per share of $1.55 to $1.85; gross margin between 42 to 44 percent; operating expenses between $115 million to $125 million; capital expenditures of approximately $25 million to $30 million; and an effective tax rate of approximately 33 percent.

In addition, given the significant number of orders it has received thus far in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, the company now expects its backlog at the end of fiscal 2012 to be at least $1.6 billion. Previously, it had estimated its backlog would be above $1 billion at the end of fiscal 2012. SOLR shares ended up 9.52% today.

For more on GT Solar’s earnings go here

Competitors to Watch: First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE:STP), Yingli Green Energy Hold. Co. Ltd. (NYSE:YGE), and LDK Solar Co.(NYSE:LDK).

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