Quest Diagnostics Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) will unveil its latest earnings tomorrow, Wednesday, January 23, 2013. Quest Diagnostics provides diagnostic testing, information, and services to patients, physicians, and others.

Quest Diagnostics Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for net income of $1.08 per share, a decline of 12.2% 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 $1.12. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It has been unchanged at $1.08 during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 36.3% versus last year to $4.51.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company saw profit of $1.18 per share versus a mean estimate of net income of $1.18 per share. This comes after two consecutive quarters of exceeding expectations.

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A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit fell 5.1% to $163.1 million ($1.01 a share) from $171.8 million ($1.07 a share) the year earlier, meeting analyst expectations. Revenue fell 2.9% to $1.85 billion from $1.91 billion.

Here’s how Quest Diagnostics traded following its last earnings report 3 months ago and leading up to its upcoming earnings report this week:

DGX

Balance Sheet Analysis: The company’s current ratio of assets to liabilities came in at 1.38 last quarter. The current ratio is an indication of a firm’s liquidity and ability to meet creditor demands and generally, for every dollar the company owes in the short term, it has that figure available in assets that can be converted to cash in the short term.

Stock Price Performance: Between November 16, 2012 and January 16, 2013, the stock price had risen $2.13 (3.7%), from $57.80 to $59.93. It saw one of its worst periods between December 18, 2012 and December 26, 2012 when shares fell for six straight days, dropping 3.2% (-$1.96) over that span. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between June 11, 2012 and June 19, 2012, when shares rose for seven straight days, increasing 5.1% (+$2.84) over that span.

Key Stats:

On the top line, the company is looking to get back on the right track after last quarter’s drop snapped a string of revenue increases. Revenue rose 3% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, 6.3% in the first quarter and 0.2%in the second quarter before dropping in the third quarter.

Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $1.83 billion in revenue this quarter, a decline of 2.7% from the year-ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $7.53 billion for the year, a rise of 0.3% from last year’s revenue of $7.51 billion.

Analyst Ratings: There are mostly holds on the stock with 13 of 15 analysts surveyed giving that rating.

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