With hundreds of companies having reported quarterly results, we're now in the heart of earnings season. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarterly 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 decision.
Let's turn to Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)
. The oil giant has avoided the trend that many of its peers have followed, remaining an integrated oil company with both exploration and production capabilities and downstream refining and marketing operations. That's been a lucrative combination: The stock has hit all-time highs recently despite gaining just 5% in 2012, lagging behind the Dow Jones Industrial Average
. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Chevron over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Friday.
Stats on Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)
|Analyst EPS Estimate
|Change From Year-Ago EPS
|Change From Year-Ago Revenue
|Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters
Source: Yahoo Finance.
Will Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) energize its stock?
Analysts have lowered their estimates for Chevron's fourth-quarter report somewhat over the past three months, with earnings-per-share guesses dropping by $0.08. But the stock has done quite well since the company's last earnings report, climbing about 6% since late October.
We've already seen a performance update from Chevron
that shares some highlights of the quarter. Domestic production rates through November showed 2% gains from last year, although international production fell year over year. Yet because of the higher natural-gas prices in international markets, Chevron saw price improvement over the year-ago quarter. The same trend showed itself in the refining segment, with U.S. results improving while international figures disappointed investors.
In the longer term, Chevron has been dealing with some of the same problems
that have plagued other companies: lower oil and natural-gas prices combined with declining production. Yet unlike Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)
, which is projecting year-over-year declines in revenue and relatively flat profits, Chevron has made progress over its year-ago quarter.