Business consultant Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ:EXBD) will report first-quarter 2007 financial results on Tuesday, April 24.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or waffle? Two-thirds of the six analysts consulting with the Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation rate it a buy, while the remaining two consulted the oracle of Delphi and say hold.
  • Revenues. Revenues are expected to rise 21%, to $127.5 million.
  • Earnings. Profits, on the other hand, are anticipated to come in 17% higher, at $0.49 per share.

What management says:
Management was generally pleased with last year's results, although it acknowledged that the fourth quarter fell shy of expectations. CEO Tom Monahan had said upon announcing the quarterly results, "While contract value growth of 24.7% came in below our objective for Q4, we continued to see strength across most of our key growth drivers. [The] client renewal rate for the full year was 92%, and the cross-sell ratio -- the average number of subscriptions per member institution -- rose from 3.91 to 4.15 in our traditional large-company market." Still, he lowered full-year revenue and guidance to $553 million and $2.39 per share, respectively.

What management does:
Corporate Executive Board provides research, decision support tools, and executive education, primarily to corporations in the United States. It's one of the fastest-growing consulting firms and landed in the 51st spot in Forbes' ranking of the 200 best small companies. Yet rather than imparting sage wisdom through customized research, the company allows corporations to become CEB members and immerse themselves in the best practices of all members at a fraction of the cost. Only 10 years old and with a valuation of $2.8 billion, it is being rewarded more richly by the market than more widely known competitors Gartner Group (NYSE:IT) and Forrester Research (NASDAQ:FORR).

























All data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data reflects trailing-12-month performance for the quarters ended in the named months.

One Fool says:
Despite the readjustment in revenues and earnings, Corporate Executive Board still has the potential for growth as corporations seek out valuable strategies and processes at reasonable cost. The ability to gain insight into the workings of corporate America and tailor those findings to the individual companies' needs ought to make CEB a valuable partner for years to come. It trades at multiples equal to its competitors on expected 2008 earnings, but at a discount to its industry on a trailing basis. With the stock well off its highs and having trended downward for a year now, Corporate Executive Board looks like an investment worth consulting.

Related Foolishness:

Corporate Executive Board has earned a five-star rating from Motley Fool CAPS, the new investor-intelligence community. You can add your voice to the new stock-rating service by joining today. It's free!

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Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not own any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.