Earnings season is in full swing, with huge numbers of companies having already given their latest numbers to investors. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarter reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.
Let's turn to Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) . The trash hauler and recycling company has done a good job standing up to competition, recovering strongly over the past quarter. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Republic Services over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Thursday.
Stats on Republic Services
|Analyst EPS Estimate||$0.43|
|Change From Year-Ago EPS||(19%)|
|Revenue Estimate||$2 billion|
|Change From Year-Ago Revenue||(1.2%)|
|Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters||2|
Will Republic Services clean up this quarter? Republic Services has analysts expecting slow but steady growth for the foreseeable future. Despite year-over-year drops in earnings and revenue this quarter, analysts expect 2013 to be a better year for the company, with steady progress into 2014 as well. The stock has reflected that enthusiasm, moving higher by about 18% since early November.
Republic Services is about much more than just hauling trash. With the opportunity to cash in on valuable initiatives like recycling, landfill gas, and waste-to-energy technology, Republic Services is fighting rival Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) and waste-to-energy leader Covanta Holding Corporation (NYSE:CVA) to get the best trash feedstock they can find.
Republic is also looking at projects to take advantage of energy-related projects that build on its trash business. The company has an agreement with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ:CLNE) to supply landfill gas for Clean Energy's natural-gas fueling stations. Also, Republic recently completed a solar field on an existing landfill site, taking advantage of otherwise unusable land to produce electricity for commercial and residential use.
One thing to look for in this quarter's report is any sign that Republic could decide to spin off its land and property assets as a real estate investment trust. That could save Republic on its tax bill and give investors greater income, but with Waste Management making a statement saying it wasn't planning to convert in the immediate future, shares gave back most of their initial gains on the REIT speculation.