The Hershey Company Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, February 1, 2012. Hershey manufactures chocolate and confectionery products, food and beverage enhancers and gum and mint refreshment products.

The Hershey Company Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of 70 cents per share, a rise of 14.8% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. The average estimate is the same as three months ago. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate was unchanged. It also has not changed during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting net income of $2.82 per share, a rise of 10.6% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: The company met estimates last quarter after beating the forecasts in the prior two. In the third quarter, the company reported profit of 84 cents per share versus a mean estimate of net income of 84 cents per share. In the second quarter, the company beat estimates by one cent.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $1.56 billion in revenue this quarter, a rise of 5.4% from the year ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $6.06 billion for the year, a rise of 6.9% from last year’s revenue of $5.67 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts seem relatively indifferent about Hershey Company with nine of 13 analysts surveyed maintaining a hold rating.

A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit rose 9.2% to $196.7 million (86 cents a share) from $180.2 million (78 cents a share) the year earlier, meeting analyst expectations. Revenue rose 5% to $1.62 billion from $1.55 billion.

Key Stats:

The company has seen net income rise in three straight quarters. Net income rose more than twofold in the second quarter and 8.6% in the first quarter.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue rose 7.5% in the second quarter from the year earlier, climbed 11.1% in the first quarter from the year-ago quarter and 5.4% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Competitors to Watch: Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT), Snyder S Lance Inc (NASDAQ:LNCE), John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. (NASDAQ:JBSS), Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. (NYSE:TR), Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Inc. (NASDAQ:RMCF), Diamond Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:DMND), Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RAH), The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAIN), General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS), and The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM).

Stock Price Performance: During November 28, 2011 to January 26, 2012, the stock price had risen $5.91 (10.6%) from $55.62 to $61.53. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between November 25, 2011 and December 6, 2011 when shares rose for eight-straight days, rising 5.8% (+$3.19) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between April 29, 2011 and May 9, 2011 when shares fell for seven-straight days, falling 3.2% (-$1.82) over that span.

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

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