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Are you looking to be more cautious during the earnings season? If so, here's a list you might be interested in.

We began by screening the stocks that will be reporting later this week (January 7th-January 11th) with weak sales trends by comparing growth in revenue to growth in inventory over the last year. We screened for stocks with negative sales trends, with slower growth in revenue than inventory over the last year. Since inventory represents the portion of goods not yet sold, slower growth in revenue than inventory is considered a discouraging sign.

We were left with 3 stocks on the list.

For an interactive version of this chart, click on the image below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

Do you think these companies are in trouble, or will they turn the trend around? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

1. Helen of Troy Limited (HELE): Engages in the design, development, import, and distribution of brand-name consumer products worldwide. Market cap at $1.04B, most recent closing price at $32.80. Revenue grew by 3.6% during the most recent quarter ($287.41M vs. $277.42M y/y). Inventory grew by 23.71% during the same time period ($318.7M vs. $257.61M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 48.76% to 55.51% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-08-31 to 3 months ending 2011-08-31). Expected to report earnings on January 9th, 2013 before market open.

2. WD-40 Company (WDFC): Engages in the production and sale of consumer products. Market cap at $727.99M, most recent closing price at $46.31. Revenue grew by -6.49% during the most recent quarter ($84.85M vs. $90.74M y/y). Inventory grew by 61.59% during the same time period ($25.66M vs. $15.88M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 11.09% to 15.45% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-08-31 to 3 months ending 2011-08-31). Expected to report earnings on January 8th, 2013.

3. Zep, Inc. (ZEP): Produces, markets, and services a range of cleaning and maintenance solutions for commercial, industrial, institutional, and consumer end-markets. Market cap at $315.7M, most recent closing price at $14.10. Revenue grew by -1.2% during the most recent quarter ($171.69M vs. $173.78M y/y). Inventory grew by 16.84% during the same time period ($71.45M vs. $61.15M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 33.58% to 36.17% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2012-08-31 to 3 months ending 2011-08-31). Expected to report earnings on January 7th, 2013 before market open.

Source: 3 Stocks Reporting Earnings Next Week With Inventory Flags