James River Coal Company First Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

James River Coal Company (NASDAQ:JRCC) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, May 3, 2012. James River Coal Company mines, processes and sells bituminous, steam- and industrial-grade coal through six operating subsidiaries located throughout eastern Kentucky and one in southern Indiana.

James River Coal Company Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for a loss of 66 cents per share, a wider loss from the year-earlier quarter net loss of 11 cents. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from a loss of 37 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It also has dropped from a loss of 60 cents during the last month.

Past Earnings Performance: The company enters this earnings report having missed estimates the last four quarters. Last quarter, the company fell short of expectations by 9 cents, reporting net loss of of 5 cents per share against a mean estimate of net income of 4 cents per share.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $277.5 million in revenue this quarter, a rise of 68.6% from the year-ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $1.09 billion for the year, a decline of 7.6% from last year’s revenue of $1.18 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts seem relatively indifferent about James River Coal Company with eight of 10 analysts surveyed maintaining a hold rating.

A Look Back: In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, the company swung to a loss of $28.5 million (86 cents a share) from a profit of $25.9 million (93 cents) a year earlier, missing analyst expectations. Revenue rose more than twofold to $357.2 million from $162.1 million.

Key Stats:

On the top line, the company is looking to build on three-straight revenue increases heading into this earnings announcement. Revenue increased 92.3% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year and 77.3% 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’s gross margin shrank by 5.2 percentage points in the in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year. Revenue rose 120.4% while cost of sales rose 133.4% to $332.2 million from a year earlier.

Stock Price Performance: Between February 1, 2012 and April 27, 2012, the stock price fell $1.37 (-22%), from $6.24 to $4.87. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between June 17, 2011 and July 1, 2011, when shares rose for 11 straight days, increasing 12.1% (+$2.28) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between November 15, 2011 and November 25, 2011 when shares fell for eight straight days, dropping 22.7% (-$1.87) over that span.

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

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