Nicor Inc. Third Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Nicor, Inc. (NYSE:GAS) will unveil its latest earnings on Tuesday, November 1, 2011. Nicor is a holding company which serves 2.2 million customers in most of the northern third of Illinois.

Nicor, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for net income of 30 cents per share, a rise of 7.1% 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 35 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It has been unchanged at 30 cents during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting profit of $2.49 per share, a decline of 17% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: The company has beaten estimates the last two quarters and is coming off a quarter where it topped the forecasts by 10 cents, reporting net income of 42 cents per share against a mean estimate of profit of 32 cents. In the first quarter, the company exceeded forecasts by 6 cents with net income of 98 cents versus a mean estimate of profit of 92 cents.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $352 million in revenue this quarter, a decline of 0.1% from the year ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $2.79 billion for the year, a rise of 3% from last year’s revenue of $2.71 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts seem relatively indifferent about Nicor with four of five analysts surveyed maintaining a hold rating.

A Look Back: In the second quarter, profit fell 20.7% to $19.2 million (42 cents a share) from $24.2 million (53 cents a share) the year earlier, but exceeded analyst expectations. Revenue rose 12.1% to $477 million from $425.6 million.

Key Stats:

A year-over-year revenue increase in the second quarter snapped a streak of two consecutive quarters of revenue declines. Revenue fell 13.1% in the first quarter and 3.8% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Competitors to Watch: Piedmont Natural Gas Co., Inc. (NYSE:PNY), Vectren Corporation (NYSE:VVC), AGL Resources Inc. (NYSE:AGL), Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE:ATO), The Laclede Group, Inc. (NYSE:LG), South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI), New Jersey Resources Corp. (NYSE:NJR), Energy Incorporated (AMEX:EGAS), Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN), and National Fuel Gas Co. (NYSE:NFG).

Stock Price Performance: During August 2, 2011 to October 26, 2011, the stock price had risen $2.24 (4.2%) from $53.53 to $55.77. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between June 23, 2011 and July 8, 2011 when shares rose for 11-straight days, rising 4.9% (+$2.60) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between July 22, 2011 and July 29, 2011 when shares fell for six-straight days, falling 2.4% (-$1.34) over that span. Shares are up $7.12 (+14.6%) year to date.

(Source: Xignite Financials)

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