3 Earnings Reports That Caught My Attention Last Week

As fourth-quarter earnings reports wind down, and with three-quarters of the year already in the books, I can't help but point out that the majority of reports up until now have been 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. They may have slid under your radar, but they deserve a look.

Company

Consensus EPS

Reported EPS

Surprise

Diamond Foods (NASDAQ: DMND  )

$0.03

$0.05

67%

Mattress Firm Holding (NASDAQ: MFRM  )

$0.46

$0.47

2%

UTi Worldwide (NASDAQ: UTIW  )

$0.25

$0.16

(40%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Diamond Foods
The war may be over, but Diamond Foods just keeps picking fights in the parking lot and losing. Diamond, a diversified food producer, was decimated earlier this year when it was disclosed that it had improperly paid its walnut growers and recently restated two years of annual reports resulting in $56.5 million in vanished profits. In addition, Diamond Foods' scandal lost it the right to purchase the Pringles brand from Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) which eventually turned around and sold the brand to competitor Kellogg (NYSE: K  ) .

Last week brought a rare occurrence for Diamond shareholders -- a timely earnings release -- but it was more of the same for shareholders. Although adjusted profits surpassed estimates by $0.02, the problems continue to mount for poor Diamond Foods, which saw revenue fall by 5% to $224 million. At the heart of Diamond Foods' problems is rebuilding its walnut supply and repairing its damaged corporate image, which is going to take quite some time. Until sales are running healthfully higher and costs are under control, I think you'd be truly nutty to speculate in owning this company.

Mattress Firm Holding
It's a rare occasion when I hit one right on the head, so please forgive my moment of self-indulgence, but in April I called Mattress Firm Holding a bloated pig and the stock has been in a tailspin ever since.

Mattress Firm's management noted last Tuesday that the mattress retailer is beginning to lose the spring in its step. For the recently ended quarter, sales grew by 51%, which can primarily be attributed to stores gained through acquisition. Actual same-store sales grew by just 6.6% -- not bad for a mattress company, but not as robust as its previous valuation would have entailed.

Mattress Firm has really taken to growing by acquiring its peers. This method works wonders when consumers have plenty of disposable income and the economy is expanding. At the moment, these acquisitions have me wondering if we won't see huge integration nightmares ensue, as well as see costs balloon in the near term. Based on Mattress Firm's reduced full-year guidance, I'm thinking this is a very likely possibility. Although I'm getting a lot closer to liking Mattress Firm's valuation, I'm going to stick with my underperform call for the time being.

UTi Worldwide
OK, I get it: The trucking and logistics industry is a bloody mess! UTi Worldwide reported a 10.7% decline in revenue and a drop in profit to $0.16 from $0.29 in the year-ago period as it found competition fierce, pricing difficult, and demand lower in the U.S. and Europe, and currency translation weighed on its bottom line. Still, I'm pegging the trucking sector and logistics in general to have a major rebound in 2013.

A lot of what happens at UTi Worldwide will be determined by what happens at the big two logistics providers, FedEx (NYSE: FDX  ) and United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS  ) . Both have seen demand dip worldwide, but I fully expect their pricing and brand power to return in a big way next year. Fuel prices, which have hampered transportation companies since 2010, have dipped considerably, and many of these supply chain management providers are working with more fuel-efficient planes, boats, and trucks. With logistics companies focusing on cost reductions, it wouldn't take much for these companies to blow analyst estimates out of the water. UTi Worldwide may be down, but it's far from out.

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.

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