After beating estimates last quarter by $0.01, Service Corp. International (NYSE: SCI) has set the standard for itself. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, July 27. Service Corp. International is a provider of death-care products and services in North America. Its services consist of funeral service locations, cemeteries, funeral service/cemetery combination locations, crematoria, and related businesses.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts are very bullish on this stock, unanimously backing it as a buy. Analysts like Service Corp. International better than competitor Stewart Enterprises overall. Four out of five analysts rate Stewart Enterprises a buy, compared with four of four for Service Corp International. Analysts' rating of Service Corp. International has stayed constant from three months prior.
  • Revenue forecasts: On average, analysts predict $560.4 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 0.9% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.15 per share. Estimates range from $0.14 to $0.15.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are solidly backing the stock, with 96% giving it an "outperform" rating. The community at large agrees with the All-Stars, with 91% awarding it a rating of "outperform." Fools are bullish on Service Corp. International, though the message boards have been quiet lately, with only 74 posts in the past 30 days. Despite the majority sentiment in favor of Service Corp. International, the stock has a middling CAPS rating of three out of five stars.

Management:
Service Corp. International's profit has risen year over year by an average of 16.6%. Revenue has now gone up for three straight 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 gross, operating, and net margins over the past four quarters. 

Quarter Q1 Q4 Q3 Q2
Gross Margin 21.8% 21.9% 19.3% 19.7%
Operating Margin 16.8% 18.2% 12.8% 17.3%
Net Margin 6.7% 6.4% 3.5% 7.3%
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