Laclede Group (NYSE: LG) didn't hit the Street's expectations last quarter, but investors hope that it will rebound this quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Friday, July 29. Laclede Group and its subsidiaries provide natural gas service through its regulated core utility operations, while engaging in non-regulated activities that provide sustainable growth.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts think investors should stand pat on Laclede Group with analysts unanimously rating it hold. Analysts don't like Laclede Group as much as competitor Northwest Natural Gas overall. Three out of nine analysts rate Northwest Natural Gas a buy compared to zero of two for Laclede Group. Analysts' rating of Laclede Group has stayed constant from three months prior.
  • Revenue Forecasts: On average, analysts predict $303.1 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a decline of 6.6% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street Earnings Expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.22 per share.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are solidly backing the stock with 87.8% granting it an "outperform" rating. The community at large backs the All-Stars with 91.5% assigning it a rating of "outperform." Fools have embraced Laclede Group, though the message boards have been quiet lately with only 34 posts in the past 30 days. Laclede Group has a bullish CAPS rating of five out of five stars that is about on par with the Fool community assessment.

Revenue has fallen in the past two 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 and net margins over the past four quarters. 

Quarter Q2 Q1 Q4 Q3
Gross Margin 43.6% 14.9% 6.2% 10.6%
Net Margin 5.1% 5.3% -0.6% 1.5%

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