This Company Could Surprise Investors This Week

One rare upside of not being smack in the heart of earnings season is that you can really take the time to examine the quarterly reports that have been filed, or prepare for companies that are about to report.

Watchmaker Movado Group (NYSE: MOV  ) is scheduled to report fourth-quarter and year-end results Thursday morning. For most of us, we simply ignore the earnings reports that are few and far between earnings season, but this is one you may want to make time to read.

Quietly, the Swiss watch industry has been putting together a string of impressive results. Through the first two months of 2011, Swiss watch exports were up 18%, and they remain on pace to set an all-time dollar record for total exports this year. It is true that these comparisons are against some very weak numbers after the worldwide recession sapped watch demand in 2009. But we have to keep in mind that this could also translate into a major earnings beat for a company like Movado, whose figures will also be measured against some very weak 2010 results. No matter how you slice it, this looks like a slam-dunk setup for an earnings beat.

Movado also finds itself in a sweet niche between luxury watchmakers Swatch Group (OTC BB: SWGAY.PK) and the Richemont Group, and department-store-branded Fossil (Nasdaq: FOSL  ) . The tragic earthquake in Japan is expected to take a bite out of high-end luxury manufacturers like Swatch and Richemont, but Movado, a company priced more consistently in the middle tier, could excel and pick up share from these high-end companies.

It's a little tough trying to compare apples and oranges in Movado and Fossil, but the trend for low-to-mid-price-point watches is clocking significantly higher. Fossil reported quarterly figures in February that made many mouths drop. Same-store sales were up more than 20% year over year and a 32.8% jump in sales. I feel this is another indication that analysts may have severely underestimated the current projections of a $0.01 profit this quarter from Movado.

Investors overreacted badly when the global recession struck and drove Movado under $5 a share. Even now the company trades below its tangible book value with a debt-free balance sheet, and is once again generating positive operating cash flow. Let's not forget that from 1994 until early 2009, Movado paid out a quarterly dividend, and I feel it will soon do so again. It looks as if investors are being given a chance to take part in the luster that was once Movado Group, and I suggest you set your clocks for Thursday's 10 a.m. ET conference call; I anticipate it being a bullish awakening.

How do you think Movado will perform this quarter? Will it be springing forward or falling back based on results? Share your thoughts in the comments section and consider tracking my call and your own list of personalized stocks by adding them to My Watchlist. Add Movado Group to My Watchlist

Fool contributor Sean Williams does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article but is the proud owner of a Movado watch. He would like to remind you not to forget about our friends in Japan who could use a helping hand. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong. Fossil is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. 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 that never misses a tick.


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