Business consultant Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ:EXBD) will report second-quarter results on Tuesday. The Oracle of Omaha was not available to consult, so we look to the analysts to see what they expect.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or waffle? After last quarter's apparent stumble, six analysts now rate the Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation a hold, while one says buy.
  • Revenue. Revenue is expected to rise 14.9% to $128.3 million.
  • Earnings. Profits, on the other hand, are forecast to tumble nearly 19% to $0.43 per share.

What management says:
Corporate Executive Board ran into a people problem last quarter that it says may take some time to work out. In the words of management, it didn't have enough "feet on the street" drumming up business. It took management some time to realize this. It apparently had plenty of consultants for business in Europe, but didn't have enough here in the States. It then became focused on remedying the situation and reports having received a large volume of resumes. However, more resumes don't necessarily mean having the right resumes, so management is working on hiring the right people.

Yet even with corporations cutting back on their budgets, executives still have problems that need to be worked on. As management points out, it has been through these lean times before -- albeit as a smaller company -- but has survived because it is "executive driven." That means it doesn't have to hope for a management crisis to drive business to the company, but rather, by polling its clients it knows ahead of time what issues are important. Sarbanes-Oxley, for example, put a lot of other items lower on the agenda. Now that most companies are in compliance and SOX-mania is fading, executives can focus on those issues they had put on the back burner.

What management does:
Because Corporate Executive Board was more richly valued than better-known rivals Gartner (NYSE:IT) and Forrester Research (NASDAQ:FORR), it's not surprising that it took it on the chin a bit harder than they did this past quarter. While the competition's stock has dropped about 5%, Corporate Executive Board stock has fallen more than 10% over the past three months. The stock might stumble more until the company fills the street with more feet.

























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:
Reflecting perhaps the focus that's being given to health care these days, the stock of Advisory Board (NASDAQ:ABCO) is actually on the rise. With elections coming that will surely focus on the issue, and a controversial Michael Moore movie advocating national health care, this may once again be the "issue" for executives that will allow Corporate Executive Board to move forward, too.

The company still generates lots of free cash flow, and management still needs to learn best practices for a host of problems confronting it. Corporate Executive Board probably won't be reporting particularly robust numbers this time around, but that may already be priced into the stock, unless it still doesn't have its feet on the ground.

For related Foolishness:

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