Moody's Corporation (MCO) beat analyst forecasts on Friday when it reported diluted earnings per share of $0.81. Excluding a once off tax item, diluted earnings per share were $0.75 up 32% from the prior-year period. At the same time Moody's raised its EPS guidance for the full year 2012 to a range of $2.95 to $3.05 from the previous range of $2.76 to $2.86. The company announced that it expected revenue to grow in the mid-teens percent range with a full-year operating margin now projected to be approximately 40 percent.
Trading on a multiple of 17.3 times historic earnings appears low for a company that has reported double-digit annual EPS growth and growth of over 40% for the last quarter. Yahoo Finance reports average annual consensus earnings growth of 14.4% for the next five years.
The Hershey Company (HSY) on Friday announced sales and earnings for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2012. Excluding net pre-tax charges and non-service-related pension expense, the adjusted earnings were $199.5 million, or $0.87 per share diluted, in the third quarter of 2012, compared with $194 million, or $0.84 per share-diluted, in the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 3.6 percent.
The company reported that it expected adjusted earnings per share diluted for the full-year to be in the $3.22 to $3.25 range, an increase of 14 to 15 percent versus 2011, greater than the previous estimate of a 12 to 14 percent increase. The boost comes as input costs are now expected to increase by less in 2012 than previously estimated. As a result, adjusted gross margin is now expected to increase 120 to 140 basis points (previous forecast of about a 100 to 120 basis points).
On Wednesday Tupperware Brands (TUP) reported net income for the quarter of $47.5 million, or $0.85 per diluted share, compared with 2011 third quarter GAAP net income and EPS of $10.5 million and $0.17 per share, respectively, which included a non-cash impairment charge of $36.1 million or $0.60 per share. Adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.95 in the quarter was $0.12, or 14% better than 2011.
The company raised the high end of its full year diluted earnings per share guidance range, excluding items, by 8 cents versus the guidance range provided in July, of which 7 cents was due to the impact of stronger foreign exchange rates. EPS excluding items for 52 weeks ending December 2012 is now projected to be $4.94 to $4.99 compared to $4.45 for 53 weeks ending December 2011. The stock was trading on a multiple of 16.2 times earnings as of the Oct. 26 close.
Cerner (CERN), the health and care information technology company, announced a 25% increase in earnings as adjusted diluted earnings per share were $0.60 in the third quarter of 2012 compared to $0.48 of adjusted diluted earnings per share in the year-ago quarter. At the same time the company announced that it expected full year 2012 adjusted diluted earnings per share before share based compensation expense between $2.34 and $2.36, up from a prior range of $2.32 to $2.36.
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Disclosure: The author holds no positions in Moody's, Hershey, Tupperware Brands or Cerner and has no intention to initiate any in the next 72 hours.