Earnings Analysis For FactSet Research Systems Inc.

| About: FactSet Research (FDS)

FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE:FDS) reports preliminary financial results for the year ended 2012-08-31.

FactSet Research Systems Inc. recently reported its preliminary financial results based on which CapitalCube provides a unique peer-based analysis of the company. Our analysis is based on the company's performance over the last twelve months (unless stated otherwise).

FactSet Research Systems Inc.'s analysis versus peers uses the following peer-set: News Corp. Cl B (NASDAQ:NWS), Thomson Reuters Corporation (NYSE:TRI), McGraw-Hill Cos.(MHP), IHS Inc. Cl A (IHS), MSCI Inc. (NYSE:MSCI) and Morningstar Inc. (NASDAQ:MORN). The table below shows the preliminary results along with the recent trend for revenues, net income and returns.

Annual (USD million) 2012-08-31 2011-08-31 2010-08-31 2009-08-31 2008-08-31
Revenues 805.8 726.5 641.1 622.0 575.5
Revenue Growth % 10.9 13.3 3.1 8.1 21.0
Net Income 188.8 171.0 150.2 145.0 125.0
Net Income Growth % 10.4 13.9 3.6 15.9 14.1
Net Margin % 23.4 23.5 23.4 23.3 21.7
ROE % 35.4 33.6 29.9 30.0 28.6
ROA % 27.9 25.9 23.2 23.8 22.5

Valuation Drivers

FactSet Research Systems Inc. currently trades at a higher Price/Book ratio (8.3) than its peer median (6.1). FactSet Research Systems Inc.'s operating performance is higher than the median of its chosen peers (ROE of 35.4% compared to the peer median ROE of 11.8%). However, the market does not seem to expect higher growth relative to peers (PE of 24.9 compared to peer median of 28.8), but simply for the company to maintain its relatively high rates of return.

The company has a successful operating strategy with above median net profit margins of 23.4% (vs. peer median of 13.3%) and relatively high asset turns of 1.2x (vs. peer median of 0.6x). This suggests that the company has a dominant operating model relative to its peers. FactSet Research Systems Inc.'s net margin is similar to last year's high of 23.5%, which compares to a low of 21.7% in 2008.

Economic Moat

The company enjoys both better than peer median annual revenue growth of 10.9% and better than peer median earnings growth performance 10.4%. FactSet Research Systems Inc. currently converts every 1% of change in annual revenue into 1.0% of change in annual reported earnings. We view this company as a leader among its peers.

FactSet Research Systems Inc.'s return on assets is above its peer median both in the current period (27.9% vs. peer median 5.8%) and also over the past five years (24.6% vs. peer median 7.2%). This performance suggests that the company's relatively high operating returns are sustainable.

The company's gross margin of 70.0% is around peer median suggesting that FactSet Research Systems Inc.'s operations do not benefit from any differentiating pricing advantage. However, FactSet Research Systems Inc.'s pre-tax margin is more than the peer median (34.1% compared to 21.5%) suggesting relatively tight control on operating costs.

Growth & Investment Strategy

FactSet Research Systems Inc.'s revenues have grown at about the same rate as its peers (9.0% vs. 7.9% respectively for the past three years). Similarly, the stock price implies median long-term growth as its PE ratio is around the peer median of 24.9. The historical performance and long-term growth expectations for the company are largely in sync.

FactSet Research Systems Inc.'s annualized rate of change in capital of 3.3% over the past three years is around the same as its peer median of 3.3%. This investment has generated a better than peer median return on capital of 33.0% averaged over the same three years. The greater than peer median rate of return suggest that the company may be under investing in growth.

Earnings Quality

FactSet Research Systems Inc. has reported relatively strong net income margin for the last twelve months (23.4% vs. peer median of 13.3%). This margin performance combined with relatively low accruals (5.4% vs. peer median of 9.5%) suggests possible aggressive accounting and an overstatement of its reported net income.

FactSet Research Systems Inc.'s accruals over the last twelve months are positive, suggesting a buildup of reserves. But this level of accruals is less than the peer median -- which suggests that while the company is building reserves, it is doing so in a relatively modest manner compared to its peers.

Trend Charts

Company Profile
FactSet Research Systems, Inc. is a provider of integrated financial information and analytical applications to the global investment community. It consolidates content from various databases with analytics on a single platform to support the investment process from initial research to published results for portfolio managers, market research and performance analysts, risk managers, sell-side equity researchers, investment bankers and fixed income professionals. The company's applications provide users access to real-time news and quotes, company and portfolio analysis, multi-company comparisons, industry analysis, company screening, portfolio optimization and simulation, predictive risk measurements, alpha testing and tools to value and analyze fixed income securities and portfolios. FactSet Research Systems was founded in September 1978 by Howard E. Wille and Charles J. Snyder and is headquartered in Norwalk, CT.

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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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