Stocks in Investing Focus Prior to Earnings

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AGL Resources, Inc. (NYSE:GAS) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, February 22, 2012. The average estimate of analysts is for profit of 92 cents per share, a rise of 7% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved up from 91 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up. It has dropped from 93 cents during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 3.9% compared to last year’s $2.93.

The company is looking to beat analyst estimates for the third quarter in a row. Last quarter, it beat estimates with net income of 2 cents per share against the mean estimate of 0 cents. In the prior quarter, the company reported profit of 33 cents. On average, analysts predict $886 million in revenue this quarter, a rise of 19.9% from the year-ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $2.71 billion for the year, no change from last year’s revenue of $2.71 billion.

Competitors to Watch: Piedmont Natural Gas Co., Inc. (NYSE:PNY), Vectren Corporation (NYSE:VVC), AGL Resources Inc. (NYSE:AGL), Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE:ATO), The Laclede Group, Inc. (NYSE:LG), South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI), New Jersey Resources Corp. (NYSE:NJR), Energy Incorporated (AMEX:EGAS), Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN), and National Fuel Gas Co. (NYSE:NFG).

Windstream Corp (NASDAQ:WIN) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, February 22, 2012. The average analyst estimate is for profit of 20 cents per share, a rise of 5.3% from the company’s actual earnings for the year-ago quarter. The average estimate is the same as three months ago. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate was unchanged. It also has not changed during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting net income of 75 cents per share, a decline of 2.6% from last year.

The company fell short of estimates last quarter after being in line with forecasts the quarter prior. In the third quarter, it reported profit of 19 cents per share versus a mean estimate of 20 cents. Two quarters ago, it reported net income of 19 cents per share. Analysts are projecting a rise of 6.8% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $1.1 billion.

Competitors to Watch: Consolidated Communications Hldgs. Inc (NASDAQ:CNSL), PAETEC Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:PAET), Xfone, Inc. (AMEX:XFN), Frontier Communications Corp (NYSE:FTR), Sprint (NYSE:S), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Cincinnati Bell Inc. (NYSE:CBB), 8×8, Inc. (NASDAQ:EGHT), CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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