NorthWestern Earnings Preview

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Investors are bracing for the worst and waiting to see if NorthWestern (NYS: NWE) will fall short of Wall Street forecasts for the fourth consecutive quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, Feb. 16. NorthWestern provides electricity and natural gas in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts strongly back NorthWestern, with four of seven rating it a buy and the remainder rating it a hold. Analysts like NorthWestern better than competitor Black Hills overall. That rating hasn't budged in three months as analysts have remained steady in their opinion of the stock.
  • Revenue forecasts: On average, analysts predict $293.3 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 0.5% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.74 per share. Estimates range from $0.72 to $0.80.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are strongly backing the stock, with 91.3% assigning it an "outperform" rating. Most of the community agrees with the All-Stars, with 88.3% giving it a rating of "outperform." Fools are gung-ho about NorthWestern, though the message boards have been quiet lately with only 20 posts in the past 30 days. The bullish CAPS rating of five out of five stars for NorthWestern outpaces Fool enthusiasm for the company.

Management:
Revenue has now gone up for three straight quarters.

Now, a look at how efficient management has been at running the business. Traditionally, margins serve as an illustration of how efficiently a company captures portions of sales dollars. The company's gross margin has been increasing year over year for the last four quarters. Gross margin reflects the total sales revenue retained after costs. Here are NorthWestern's reported margins for the last four quarters:

Quarter

Q3

Q2

Q1

Q4

Gross Margin

59.8%

56.2%

52.1%

51.9%

Net Margin

6.1%

4.4%

9.6%

7.7%

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Earnings estimates provided by Zacks.

At the time this article was published

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