W.W. Grainger Inc. Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE:GWW) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, January 25, 2012. W.W. Grainger is a distributor of facilities maintenance products and provides services and related information used by businesses and institutions throughout North America.

W.W. Grainger, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet.

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of $2.10 per share, a rise of 17.3% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved up from $2.06. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up. It has been unchanged at $2.10 during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting net income of $9.01 per share, a rise of 32.3% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: The company has beaten estimates the last four quarters and is coming off a quarter where it topped forecasts by 17 cents, reporting profit of $2.51 per share against a mean estimate of net income of $2.34 per share.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 13.7% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $2.08 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts seem relatively indifferent about W.W. Grainger with seven of 13 analysts surveyed maintaining a hold rating.

A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit rose 21.1% to $182.1 million ($2.51 a share) from $150.4 million ($2.06 a share) the year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations. Revenue rose 11.3% to $2.11 billion from $1.9 billion.

Key Stats:

The company has enjoyed double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth for the past four quarters. Over that span, the company has averaged growth of 12%, with the biggest boost coming in the first quarter when revenue rose 12.6% from the year earlier quarter.

The company has seen net income rise in three straight quarters. Net income rose 31.6% in the second quarter and 59.2% in the first quarter.

Competitors to Watch: Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST), Interline Brands, Inc. (NYSE:IBI), Anixter International Inc. (NYSE:AXE), WESCO International, Inc. (NYSE:WCC), Watsco, Incorporated (NYSE:WSO), Houston Wire & Cable Co. (NASDAQ:HWCC), Hudson Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:HDSN), Snap-on Incorporated (NYSE:SNA), and Record Electric SAECA (NYSE:REC).

Stock Price Performance: During October 21, 2011 to January 19, 2012, the stock price had risen $35.07 (21%) from $167.03 to $202.10. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between January 3, 2012 and January 18, 2012 when shares rose for 11-straight days, rising 8.9% (+$16.51) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between September 27, 2011 and October 3, 2011 when shares fell for five-straight days, falling 10.1% (-$16.06) over that span.

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

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