Expectations should be pretty low for Moody's
Moody's third-quarter net income came in at $113 million, or $0.46 per share, down from $137 million, or $0.51 per share earned in the same quarter last year. Revenue slid to $433 million, down from $525 million last year.
Relatively speaking, the results are actually pretty good. Think about it … companies that relied on the accuracy of Moody's ratings -- names like Citigroup
Just last week, a group of rating-agency executives, including Moody's CEO Raymond McDaniel, were grilled by Congress over their blatant bias for profits above accuracy over the years. One comment by an employee of Moody's rival S&P -- caught telling a colleague that their products "could be structured by cows and we would rate it" -- became a symbol of this abuse.
That kind of attitude in the ratings industry is a serious setback. When their reputation is the backbone of their business, and suddenly Congress is scorning them for their immorality, you have to think that companies like Moody's have suffered a wound that won't heal for years to come.
As for the short term, management lowered 2008 earnings expectations this morning. It now expects to earn between $1.71 and $1.77 per share this year, a notch below the $1.83 expected by analysts.
I'm not too jovial about Moody's prospects, but it still holds a 3-star rating in our CAPS ranking universe … not too bad, all things considered. Care to share your thoughts? Click here to come on over to CAPS and tell us how you feel. It won't cost you a dime.
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Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn’t own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Moody's is a Motley Fool Inside Value and Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.