3 Earnings Reports That Caught My Attention Last Week

After wrapping up an incredibly strong first quarter of earnings reports, we're more than halfway through the second quarter with many reports still coming in better than expected. With so many companies reporting during the weeks that comprise earnings season, it's easy for some earnings reports to fall through the cracks.

Each week this year, I've taken a look at three companies that could be worth further research after either beating or missing their profit expectations. Today we'll take a gander at three more companies that reported earnings last week. If they slid under your radar, they deserve a look:

Company

Consensus EPS

Reported EPS

Surprise

Talbots (NYSE: TLB  ) ($0.02) $0.09 550%
Bristow Group (NYSE: BRS  ) $1.00 $1.22 22%
Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) $0.46 $0.43 (7%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Talbots
How bad is Talbots' management team? The company rejected a buyout offer from private-equity firm Sycamore Partners for $3 a share in December, calling the offer inadequate. Then, this past week, it let a fresh offer to buy the company at $3.05 from Sycamore expire yet again despite its insistence that it was willing to negotiate with the private equity firm. If Talbots' management team can't even get that right, should we really expect them to be effectively orchestrating a turnaround?

Despite posting an unexpected profit sans restructuring and one-time charges rather than the loss analysts had expected, Talbots' sales sunk another 8% as store closures and poor products mixes continue to hamper the company. If you'd like a more apples-to-apples comparison, then consider that same-store sales shrunk 3.8%. Perhaps the strangest figure continues to be the company's declining Internet sales, which fell another 6% in the latest quarter. Seriously, in today's society with increased emphasis on convenience and modernization, how do you sell less online?

Unless Sycamore comes back to the table, I suspect we'll begin to see the vultures circling shortly.

Bristow Group
It's really this simple: Bristow Group reported another incredibly strong quarter. It looks like a sneaky-smart play on rising oil prices.

Bristow Group is contracted by oil companies to fly workers by helicopter to and from offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere around the world. The investing thesis here is very simple: If rig utilization rates are high, then Bristow is going to remain very busy. In the Gulf of Mexico, for instance, Ensco (NYSE: ESV  ) , which maintains a large presence in deepwater drilling rigs in the region, noted that it was nearly at full utilization following the brief deepwater drilling moratorium in the region caused by the BP oil spill in 2010.

Based on its quarterly report, Bristow Group was hurt by one-time impairment charges, but it scored a 16% increase in revenue and increased its cash on hand by 125%. The big news here was a 33% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.20. As long as oil exploration efforts remain strong, Bristow Group should have no trouble garnering contracts.

Dell
What? Consumers don't want PCs anymore; they want tablets and smartphones instead? I'm shocked! I never in a million years would have guessed that, considering Apple sold 88% more iPhones and 151% more iPads than in the previous year.

OK, enough with the sarcasm and onto the nitty-gritty: What is Dell going to do with itself?

Last week, speculation surfaced that it may be interested in purchasing Quest Software (Nasdaq: QSFT  ) , and there are possible market share gains to be had in the laptop market with Hewlett-Packard set to jettison 27,000 jobs (8% of its workforce) over the next two years. But it's going to take a lot more than weakness from its fellow PC makers to get Dell moving again.

Dell lacks the innovation and product line to enact any sort of meaningful change over the next one to two years. Apple's products make Dell out to be a dinosaur; and I'm pretty sure we all remember how the dinosaurs' story ended. I'm keeping a good distance away from Dell's stock regardless of how much cash it has on hand.

Foolish roundup
Sometimes an earnings beat or miss isn't as cut and dried as it appears. I've given my two cents on what's next for each of these companies; now it's your turn to sound off. Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and consider adding these stocks to your free and personalized watchlist.

If you'd like the inside track on three more companies that could wind up in the earnings beat column, then I suggest you get a copy of our latest special report, "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World." Did I mention the best part? This report is completely free, so don't miss out!

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. He has two PC's sitting in his closet currently in a long hibernation. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Bristow Group, Ensco, and Apple, and has written calls on Bristow Group. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of, and creating a bull call spread position in, Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy that always exceeds expectations.


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