Investors are on the edges of their seats, hoping that Ultratech (Nasdaq: UTEK) will top analyst expectations for the third consecutive quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, Oct. 20. Ultratech develops, manufactures and markets photolithography and laser thermal processing equipment for manufacturers of semiconductor and nanotechnology components.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts are very bullish on this stock, unanimously backing it as a buy. Analysts like Ultratech better than competitor Photronics overall. Four out of six analysts rate Photronics a buy compared to three of three for Ultratech.
  • Revenue Forecasts: On average, analysts predict $58.8 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 55% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street Earnings Expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.38 per share. Estimates range from $0.38 to $0.39.

What our community says:
Most CAPS All-Stars are skeptical of UTEK prospects, with 73.1% giving it an "underperform" rating. The community is split on the stock with 50% Fools awarding it an "outperform" rating and 50% an "underperform" rating. Fools are skeptical of Ultratech, though the message boards have been quiet lately with only 73 posts in the past 30 days. Ultratech's bearish CAPS rating of one out of five stars falls short of the Fool community sentiment.

Management:
Ultratech's profit has risen year over year by an average of more than threefold over the past five 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 Q2 Q1 Q4 Q3
Gross Margin 50.9% 50.0% 51.4% 48.8%
Operating Margin 19.9% 17.2% 16.1% 12.9%
Net Margin 18.0% 16.6% 14.5% 12.9%
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