Earnings Preview: This Week For Value Investors

by: Vince Martin

Here are my earnings season picks up this coming week, with several companies of interest to value investors reporting quarterly results. I've highlighted some of the most interesting reports below.


Sanmina-SCI Corp. (NASDAQ:SANM): The contract manufacturer reports fiscal first quarter earnings after the close on Wednesday, with analysts expecting non-GAAP earnings of 32 cents per share on revenue of $1.56 billion.

In fiscal 2011, the company earned $1.64 per share on a non-GAAP basis -- but just 83 cents based on general accounting principles. The resulting difference in P/E -- 6.25x non-GAAP, 12.4x on a GAAP basis -- makes the company somewhat difficult to value. Still, the company is trading at a small premium to its tangible book value of $9.31 per share, given Friday's close of $10.25.

The stock has seen a sharp run-up since hitting October lows below $7/share, leading investors to wonder whether the trade has been missed. Its current valuation seems relatively fair, given relatively weak levered cash flow numbers, but any perceived weakness in the first quarter earnings report may lead the stock back down toward the $9/range, where the company's strong balance sheet may interest long-term investors.


Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV): I covered the bull case for Southwest back in September, arguing that 2011's 4th most admired company was deeply undervalued while trading at a slight premium to its tangible book value. And while the stock has seen a slight improvement since that piece, the argument still holds. At Friday's close of $8.84, LUV is actually trading below book value, despite the fact that 2011 will mark the company's 39th consecutive year of profitability.

Airline stocks have traditionally been a black hole for investors, but it appears that the industry's new focus on profitability over market share and revenue has boosted the long-term potential for the industry. Despite the bankruptcy of American Airlines (AMR), many airlines are showing improved results, and continuing top-line growth -- and cost-cutting improvements -- from Southwest's acquisition of AirTran a year ago should help the bottom line for LUV.

Analysts are expecting, on average, earnings of eight cents per share on $4.12 billion in revenue. While the stock is not particularly impressive on a P/E basis -- trailing twelve-month P/E is over 40 -- cash flow was strong until a difficult third quarter and airlines have been able to raise prices recently, despite economic difficulties. Thursday's earnings report for Southwest -- delivered before the market opens -- should give investors an update on the AirTran integration, and further insight into the future for the country's most successful, most reliable, most admired domestic airline.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC): Despite a weak showing on Friday, Intel stock continues to show strength, along with the semiconductor sector as a whole. The Philly Semiconductor Index (SOX) is up over 10% since mid-December, when weakened fourth quarter guidance from Intel, along with similar warnings from Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) and Altera (NASDAQ:ALTR), marked a near-term low for industry stocks.

The company has guided for revenue between $13.4 and $14 billion, with gross margin expected to come in near 64.5 percent. Analysts, on average, are expecting 61 cents per share on $13.72 billion in sales, according to Yahoo Finance.

Investors will be looking to the after-market report to see how much impact the flooding in Thailand has had on the PC supply chain, and, in particular, Intel's take on the global semiconductor business. As noted, the sector has rebounded after analysts from Jefferies (JEF), JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), and others have called a bottom for the industry over the past couple of weeks. Will Intel's report corroborate their views?

In the meantime, despite its recent run-up, INTC still looks attractive. Should the company meet earnings estimates for the quarter, FY11 earnings will be $2.36 per share ($2.47 non-GAAP), giving a P/E around 10.5 at Friday's close of $25.14. Net cash has been positive, though it will likely turn to net debt, as the company borrowed $5 billion last year to fund a $14.2 billion stock repurchase authorization. In addition to the repo, INTC's dividend has been raised twice since late 2010 and now sits at 84 cents, providing a yield of 3.34%.

There are, of course, questions about the company's ability to adapt to a changing marketplace and maintain its dominance as the PC is diminished -- or even replaced -- by tablets, mobile computing, and Intel-promoted "ultrabooks". But the solid fundamentals, and the company's consistent efforts to return capital to shareholders make INTC worth considering. Any weakness in Thursday's report may present a buying opportunity in the short-term, while the company's commentary may give investors better confidence in Intel's long-term ability to remain the industry leader.

Interactive Brokers (NASDAQ:IBKR): The discount online stockbroker reports fourth quarter financial results on Thursday after the close. Analysts are expecting 24 cents per share in earnings on $295.4 million in revenue. The stock looks solid on a fundamental basis, trading at just 1.2x book and 11.3x earnings of $1.35 per share for fiscal 2011 (including analyst estimates for the fourth quarter).

I've used Interactive Brokers for equity and option trades since 2009, and am a big fan of the company's interface and commission structure. Given that the retail investor is still relatively uninterested in the stock market (equity mutual funds saw net withdrawals for the fifth consecutive year in 2011), IBKR's performance is impressive. The balance sheet is solid, earnings are good, and I can personally attest that the company's product is excellent -- and relatively cheap; many stock and option trades are just $1. In addition, IBKR offers a 40-cent dividend, giving a yield of 2.62% at Friday's close of $15.24.

Any strength in revenue or transaction volume could propel a stock that has been relatively stagnant since the 2009 market bottom. In the meantime, long-term investors can collect a solid dividend from a well-managed company and wait for retail investors to return to the market. If they do, Interactive Brokers' price structure and interface make them a compelling choice, and could drive top- and bottom-line growth.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.