Watch Esterline Technologies' (NYSE: ESL) earnings report to see if it can beat analyst expectations for the fifth consecutive quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings Thursday. Esterline designs, manufactures, and markets highly engineered products. It serves the aerospace and defense industry, primarily in the United States and Europe.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts strongly back Esterline Technologies, with eight of 10 rating it a buy and the remainder rating it a hold. Analysts like Esterline Technologies better than competitor HEICO overall. Analysts' rating of Esterline Technologies has stayed constant from three months prior.
  • Revenue Forecasts: On average, analysts predict $418.9 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 9.2% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street Earnings Expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $1.20 per share. Estimates range from $1.14 to $1.29.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are solidly behind the stock with 98% awarding it an "outperform" rating. The community at large agrees with the All-Stars with 95.2% assigning it a rating of "outperform." Fools are keen on Esterline Technologies, though the message boards have been quiet lately with only 54 posts in the past 30 days. Even with a robust four out of five stars, Esterline Technologies' CAPS rating falls a little short of the community's upbeat outlook.

Management:
Esterline Technologies' profit has risen year over year by an average of 71.4% over the past five quarters. Revenue has now gone up for three straight quarters. The company increased its gross margin by 3.6 percentage points in the last quarter. Revenue rose 12.3%, while cost of sales rose 6.2% to $274.3 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 Q2 Q1 Q4 Q3
Gross Margin 37.0% 35.6% 36.2% 34.3%
Operating Margin 15.5% 12.5% 16.4% 12.9%
Net Margin 10.5% 8.1% 14.3% 10.4%

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