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So, the Wheels Came Off Royal Dutch Shell's Bus

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDSA  ) reported earnings on March 14. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Royal Dutch Shell missed estimates on revenues and whiffed on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue increased slightly. Non-GAAP earnings per share increased. GAAP earnings per share expanded slightly.

Gross margins grew, operating margins dropped, net margins expanded.

Revenue details
Royal Dutch Shell notched revenue of $118.05 billion. The three analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see sales of $120.72 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were the same as the prior-year quarter's.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $1.78. The seven earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $2.14 per share. Non-GAAP EPS of $1.78 for Q4 were 14% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.56 per share. GAAP EPS of $1.06 for Q4 were 1.9% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.04 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 14.7%, 20 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 7.1%, 130 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 5.7%, 10 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. (Margins calculated in GAAP terms.)

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $120.16 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $2.20.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $465.25 billion. The average EPS estimate is $8.17.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 15 members out of 15 rating the stock outperform, and members rating it underperform. Among two CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), two give Royal Dutch Shell a green thumbs-up, and give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Royal Dutch Shell is hold, with an average price target of $77.90.

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Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.

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