Nicor: Shares Could Head South Today (GAS)

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This is a story about that rare thing these days: a company with a stock price higher today than it was a year ago. Unfortunately, that may change following today’s release of third quarter earnings from Nicor (NYSE:GAS).

Nicor reported EPS of $0.03 on revenue of $440.3 million. Analysts hadbeen expecting EPS of $0.13 on revenue of $421 million. Operatingincome fell from $22.8 million in the same period last year to $9.3million for the third quarter. Net income fell from $14.5 million tojust $1.3 million.

The company attributes the sharp decline to "lower operating revenuesand higher operating costs." How did they ever figure that out?

The company affirmed its estimates for 2008 earnings of $2.20 to $2.40, which is unchanged from earlier guidance.  But the mid-point there is under the consensus estimate of $2.36 and the low-end of the range is under all of the few available estimates seen.

Nicor’s share price closed at $46.21 on Friday, off 11% from its 52-week high set on September 18th.

Paul Ausick
November 3, 2008