Week 2 of earnings season comes to a close; I previewed some key earnings reports on Monday. Below, I have a wrap-up of potential value stocks that reported this week:
Veeco Industries (VECO)
Veeco reported after the bell on Monday, with third quarter earnings of $1.33 (non-GAAP) and sales of $268.2 million, both well ahead of Wall Street estimates. Unfortunately, Q4 guidance fell well short, as bookings fell 57% from the previous quarter. The net sum is 2011 guidance of $963 million to $1 billion in sales, and non-GAAP earnings of $4.81-$5.11, ahead of consensus on the bottom line, but trailing on the top line.
The stock fell 5% in trading Tuesday, after a similar gain heading into earnings during Monday's session. On Thursday, however, the stock jumped over 11 percent, on apparently no news, to close at $28.42. (Fellow LED player Cree (CREE) also jumped, nearly 10%, so the stocks may just be the beneficiaries of Thursday's "risk on" movement.)
The company forecasted not only a weak fourth quarter, but also in 2012 and 2013. "Our current expectation is orders will remain depressed for a few quarters," said CEO John Peeler in the earnings release. Yet the company's long-term forecast for the market was reiterated; while LED growth is currently being delayed, it appears that the long-term story still holds. Short-term movement in the stock will likely be determined by quarterly reports and industry forecasts; but over the long term, the solid balance sheet and eventual exposure to growth should make the stock a winner.
XRX has jumped nearly 10% this week, buoyed in part by strong earnings on Tuesday. The company beat Wall Street estimates for the fifth consecutive quarter. Adjusted earnings were up 18% year-over-year, with flat sales in the legacy copier business complemented by 5% growth in the company's services segment. (As I noted last month, that segment -- which includes document, business process, and IT outsourcing -- now accounts for over half of the company's sales.)
The strong report did little to move the stock on Tuesday, though it has jumped sharply amid a strong broad market over the past two days. Despite the rise, full-year adjusted earnings guidance of $1.08-$1.11 still gives the company a forward P/E below 8 at Thursday's close of $8.57. With revenues growing (albeit very slowly), earnings increasing, and the company's excellent management of debt (interest costs fell over 30% year-over-year, as over half a billion of senior notes came off the books), XRX still looks undervalued.
Corning likewise put up a strong quarter, beating estimates by six cents on the bottom line. Earnings were down 6% year-over-year (excluding special items), but revenue jumped 30% as each of the company's five segments saw growth. Earnings drifted down due to significantly lower profits in the company's Dow Corning and Samsung Corning Precision Materials joint ventures.
The stock seemingly took a day to respond, fading late on Wednesday after gapping up at the bell, only to pop another 9% in Thursday's trading. As I noted on Monday, Corning has been a favorite among value investors, and the earnings beat combined with share price strength this week may finally be the catalyst for what seems an undervalued and underappreciated stock.
There are some worries with the company's joint venture earnings -- Dow Corning's silicon products are expected to take another hit, with the company noting on its conference call that profits may fall by another 40% in 2012. This may mask some of the growth in the five company-owned segments. Yet the strong cash flow, recently hiked dividend, and products such as Gorilla Glass and the newly announced Lotus Glass make GLW a solid long-term investment.
The defense contractor beat analyst estimates, as higher margins and share repurchases led to year-over-year EPS growth despite lower revenue and lower net income. In addition, the bottom end of full-year EPS guidance was raised, as the company now expects to earn between $5.55 and $5.65 per share in adjusted earnings. Full-year sales, however, were cut below analyst estimates. The stock rose a little over 3%, roughly in pace with a blowout market day on Thursday.
The muted rise seems appropriate for these results. Raytheon remains a company that looks significantly undervalued at first glance (P/E under 8 at the midpoint of 2011 guidance, and a 3.93% dividend yield) but has very real problems under the surface. The company's reliance on government spending as two wars in the Middle East wind down will no doubt put pressure on sales. The company, as CEO William Swanson noted on the conference call, is focusing on Homeland Security products and services to adjust to ostensibly lower defense spending. Yet such projects still rely on a federal government which, for now, seems bent on reducing spending across all areas. International sales are ticking up but simply cannot support current sales numbers; meanwhile, the margin increase the company enjoyed this year while, in the future, be returned to its customers when future proposals include the effect of cost-cutting measures. Lower revenues and lower earnings seem likely for RTN, which may negate much of what seems like a very low current valuation.
Oplink Communications (OPLK)
After a very strong four days -- big jumps on Monday and Thursday boosted the stock over 11% from last Friday's close -- Oplink reported after the market close on Thursday. Non-GAAP earnings of 15 cents per share on sales of $43.4 million were within the company's guided range, but were off sharply (particularly on the bottom line) from a year ago. Analysts were expecting 16 cents per share, according to Yahoo! Finance, though the company beat on revenues.
More worrisome for OPLK shareholders was the company's outlook for the fiscal second quarter (ending December). Revenues of $40-$43 million and non-GAAP earnings of 7 to 13 cents per share represented a sequential decline, and are below consensus of 18 cents per share on $44.7 million in sales. It seems likely the market will not react well; the stock was off 2.5% in after-hours trading, according to nasdaq.com, and may take a further hit when the market opens Friday.
The bull case for OPLK -- that its optical components will be used in the needed network upgrades and build outs required for the new wave of devices and their heavy data needs -- still seems to hold. Long-term, the strong balance sheet -- $8.12 per share in net cash -- and a new $40 million buyback authorization (representing about 12% of market cap) should provide some downside cushion. And despite slowing revenues, free cash flow was still over $6 million in the quarter, about a $25 million annual run rate (about 14% of enterprise value).
Yet investors, and Wall Street, will no doubt begin to show impatience with the pace of the optical rollout, and the company's continued struggles. In the short-term, OPLK should see some choppy trading as investors nervously look for signs of a rebound. Patient long-term investors can wait for the company to unlock its value -- but may be well-advised to wait a bit longer before buying into a stock that right now seems to lack any catalyst to move higher.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.