Investors are on the edge of their collective seats, hoping that Astoria (NYSE: AF) will top analyst expectations for the fifth consecutive quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, July 20. Astoria is a unitary savings and loan association holding company for Astoria Federal Savings and Loan Association, which provides various banking services.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts think investors should stand pat on Astoria, with eight of 13 analysts rating it hold. Analysts like Astoria better than competitor Northfield Bancorp overall. No analysts rate Northfield Bancorp a buy, compared with three of 13 for Astoria. Analysts still rate the stock a hold, but they are a bit more wary about it compared with three months ago.
  • Revenue forecasts: On average, analysts predict $97.8 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a decline of 12.6% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.23 per share. Estimates range from $0.20 to $0.26..

What our community says:
The majority of CAPS All-Stars see AF as a good bet, with 65.9% granting it an "outperform" rating. The community is divided on the stock, with 48.1% of Fools awarding it an "outperform" rating and 51.9% an "underperform" rating. Fools are gung-ho about Astoria, though the message boards have been quiet lately, with only 27 posts in the past 30 days. Astoria's bearish CAPS rating of one out of five stars falls short of the Fool community sentiment.

Management:
Astoria's profit has risen year over year by an average of more than threefold. Revenue has fallen for the past three quarters.

Now let's look at how efficient management is at running the business. Traditionally, margins represent the efficiency with which companies capture portions of sales dollars. The following table shows net margins over the past four quarters. 

Quarter Q1 Q4 Q3 Q2
Net Margin 13.4% 11% 9.4% 6.4%
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