Investors are on the edge of their collective seats, hoping that Carbo Ceramics (NYSE: CRR) will top analyst expectations for the fifth consecutive quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, July 28. Carbo Ceramics is a supplier of ceramic proppant, the provider of the world's most popular fracture simulation software, and a provider of fracture design, engineering, and consulting services.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts think investors should stand pat on Carbo Ceramics, with eight of 14 analysts rating it a hold. Analysts don't like Carbo Ceramics as much as competitor Flotek Industries overall. The one analyst following Flotek Industries rates it a buy, compared with five of 14 for CARBO Ceramics. 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 $146.7 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 31.5% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $1.26 per share. Estimates range from $1.09 to $1.45.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are solidly behind the stock, with 95% awarding it an "outperform" rating. The community at large concurs with the All-Stars, with 94.9% giving it a rating of "outperform." Fools are gung-ho about Carbo Ceramics and haven't been shy with their opinions lately, logging 108 posts in the past 30 days. Even with a robust four out of five stars, Carbo Ceramics' CAPS rating falls a little short of the community's upbeat outlook.

Management:
Carbo Ceramics' profit has risen year over year by an average of 65.9%. The company boosted its gross margin by 6.7 percentage points in the last quarter. Revenue rose 22.2% while cost of sales rose 9.8% to $88.8 million from a year earlier.

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 41.1% 38.8% 37.5% 37%
Operating Margin 30.6% 25.8% 26.3% 25.8%
Net Margin 20% 17.4% 17% 16.8%
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