Linn Energy Earnings: An Early Look

Earnings season is now starting to wind down, with most companies already having reported their quarterly results. But there are still some companies left to report, and LINN Energy (NASDAQ: LINE  ) is about to release its quarterly earnings report. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarter 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 reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

LINN Energy isn't technically a master limited partnership, but its limited liability company structure gives investors many of the same advantages that MLPs offer. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with LINN Energy over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Thursday.

Stats on LINN Energy

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.40

Change From Year-Ago EPS

(22%)

Revenue Estimate

$560 million

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

72%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

1

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will LINN Energy deliver energetic results?
LINN has held up quite well with analysts, who've added a penny per share to their consensus for the quarter and also increased their calls for full-year 2013. Investors haven't shared their enthusiasm, though, as the LLC units have dropped 4% since mid-November.

In a weak environment for natural gas, LINN has bucked the trend by making several substantial acquisitions. LINN dealt with BP (NYSE: BP  ) on two separate occasions to buy assets in the Hugoton region in Kansas as well as Wyoming's Jonah Field, helping BP to raise capital to cover legal liability and other cash needs. Moreover, smaller deals with Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC  ) and Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN  ) should also add to LINN's long-term success, with the Anadarko joint venture promising to give LINN new experience in working with Anadarko's enhanced oil-recovery methods.

Interestingly, LINN has taken a conservative approach to its energy price exposure. By hedging against sustained depressed price levels for natural gas through 2017 and locking in oil production proceeds through 2016, LINN won't benefit if energy prices rise. But the strategy insulates the company from potentially disastrous results if prices stay low, letting it focus on making the most of its assets from a production standpoint.

In LINN's quarterly report, watch closely for status updates on the company's newly acquired assets. Moreover, watch to see if related entity LinnCo (NASDAQ: LNCO  ) , which is a corporation that owns LINN units in order to simplify the partnership treatment of LINN's LLC distributions, gains traction among investors. If so, LinnCo could act as a major capital-raising vehicle for the company going forward as it pursues further acquisitions.

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