Ashland Earnings Preview

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Investors are on the edge of their collective seats, hoping that Ashland (NYS: ASH) will top analyst expectations for the third consecutive quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Ashland is a global specialty chemicals company that provides products, services, and solutions that meet customer needs throughout a variety of industries.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts strongly back Ashland, with seven of nine rating it a buy and the remainder rating it a hold. Analysts like Ashland better than competitor Dow Chemical overall. That rating hasn't budged in three months as analysts have remained unchanged in their opinion of the stock.
  • Revenue forecasts: On average, analysts predict $1.75 billion in revenue this quarter. That would represent a decline of 26.5% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.94 per share. Estimates range from $0.83 to $1.09.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are solidly backing the stock, with 94.5% giving it an outperform rating. The community at large backs the All-Stars, with 91.1% granting it a rating of outperform. Fools are gung-ho about Ashland and haven't been shy with their opinions lately, logging 128 posts in the past 30 days. Ashland has a bullish CAPS rating of five out of five stars that is about on par with the Fool community assessment.

Management:
Revenue has fallen for the past three quarters.

Now let's look at how efficient management is at running the business. Traditionally, margins represent the efficiency with which companies capture portions of sales dollars. The following table shows gross, operating, and net margins over the past four quarters.

Quarter

Q3

Q2

Q1

Q4

Gross Margin

25.9%

27.1%

27.4%

20.2%

Operating Margin

6.3%

7.8%

6.9%

4.4%

Net Margin

5.2%

22.7%

6.1%

3.2%

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At the time this article was published

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