The following are excerpts from Canaccord Genuity analysts' commentaries.
AOL (NYSE:AOL): My AOL.
AOL went on a tear on Tuesday after reporting higher-than-expected revenue and profit and posting a revenue number that didn't decline -- the first time that has happened in seven years. Keeping with the seven-year theme, the company’s overall ad business posted the strongest advertising growth the company has seen in seven years.
Who would have thought, if you bet on AOL at the beginning of the year, you ended up picking one of the hottest tech stocks this year. Shares are up 189% year-to-date! AOL said on Tuesday that Q3 revenue was flat at $531.7 million, ahead of analysts' average estimate of $521.6 million. The less bullish news: The company's key domestic display number slipped 3% and overall display sales were down 1%. However advertising revenue rose 7% to $340 million, while subscription revenue for AOL's dial-up services fell 10% to $173.5 million. At first glance that appears negative, however if you drill in deeper, Q3 subscription revenue had its lowest rate of decline in six years. "Things look great," a Wall Street analyst said. "This company is continuing to make steps in the right direction."
These trends are helping AOL since its turnaround hinges on the success of getting more online advertising dollars and reducing its reliance on the lucrative but moribund dial-up business. AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong said in an interview with Reuters that the main focus next year will be to focus on advertising and video, which tends to command higher prices from marketers.
Computer Sciences (NYSE:CSC): Big beat.
Shares of Computer Sciences soared Tuesday after the IT outsource firm reported better-than-expected fiscal Q2 results. The company posted quarterly net income of $130 million, or $0.83 a share, compared to expectations by the Street for earnings of $0.47 a share. Revenue came in at $3.85 billion, roughly in line with Wall Street's forecast. In the same period last year, CSC reported a loss of $2.9 billion, or $18.56 per share.
However, last year's results included a large write-down of goodwill. The company noted that operating margin in the most recently completed quarter was 7.7%, up from -1.9% a year ago and 4.6% in the June quarter. Looking ahead, management said it now expects fiscal 2013 profits of $2.30-2.50 a share, compared with consensus of $2.24. Commenting on the results, CSC's CEO Mike Lawrie, stated, "Our second quarter results reflect continued progress made on our contract management performance and cost takeout program," and, "As a result, operating margins improved across all three lines of business when compared with the prior year."
Office Depot (NYSE:ODP): To the Max.
Shares of Office Depot jumped after the company posted Q3/12 earnings of $0.06 per share compared with a breakeven in the year-ago quarter, and way ahead of the consensus estimate of $0.01. Effective cost management facilitated this office supply retailer to deliver better-than-expected bottom-line results. Including one-time items, Office Depot slumped to a loss of $0.25 a share compared with an earnings of $0.28 registered in the prior-year quarter. Office Depot's total revenue of $2.7 billion million decreased 5% from the prior-year quarter and also fell short of the consensus estimate of $2.7 billion. In constant currency, revenue slipped 3%. Despite a 6% decline in cost of goods sold and occupancy costs during the quarter, gross profit dropped 2% to $834.7 million.
However, gross margin expanded 90 basis points to 31% in the quarter. Office Depot reported adjusted operating profit of $40.5 million up from $24.9 million in the year-ago quarter, whereas operating margin increased 60 basis points to 1.5%.
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