Noble Increases Sales but Misses Estimates on Earnings

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Noble (NYS: NE) reported earnings on Jan. 25. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Noble missed slightly on revenue and missed slightly on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew significantly, and earnings per share expanded significantly.

Margins improved across the board.

Revenue details
Noble recorded revenue of $751.0 million. The 22 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ wanted to see revenue of $763.0 million. Sales were 17% higher than the prior-year quarter's $643.8 million.

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Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.50. The 32 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.51 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $2.00 for Q4 were 415% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.39 per share.

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Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 46.8%, 1,820 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 21.5%, 340 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 16.9%, 160 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $839.0 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.65.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $3.74 billion. The average EPS estimate is $3.56.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 2,276 members out of 2,306 rating the stock outperform, and 30 members rating it underperform. Among 658 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 654 give Noble a green thumbs-up, and four give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Noble is outperform, with an average price target of $44.00.

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At the time this article was published Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor ofMotley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Noble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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