Hillenbrand (NYSE: HI) hasn't been able to establish an earnings trend, bouncing between beating and falling short of estimates during the past fiscal year. The company will unveil its latest earnings after market close on Monday, Nov. 28. Hillenbrand is a globally diverse business -- it manufactures and sells funeral service products as well as bulk solids material handling equipment and systems for industrial markets from plastics to chemicals to coal mining.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts are very bullish on this stock, unanimously backing it as a buy. Analysts still rate the stock a moderate buy, but they are a bit more wary about it compared with three months ago.
  • Revenue Forecasts: On average, analysts predict $218.8 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 3.2% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street Earnings Expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.37 per share. Estimates range from $0.33 to $0.39.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are solidly backing the stock with 99.2% giving it an "outperform" rating. The community at large concurs with the All-Stars with 98% awarding it a rating of "outperform." Fools are bullish on Hillenbrand, though the message boards have been quiet lately with only 92 posts in the past 30 days. Hillenbrand has a bullish CAPS rating of five out of five stars that is about on par with the Fool community assessment.

Hillenbrand's profit has risen year over year by an average of 15.6% over the past five quarters. 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 Q3 Q2 Q1 Q4
Gross Margin 40.8% 44.3% 43.2% 41.8%
Operating Margin 16.5% 20.8% 20.0% 16.4%
Net Margin 10.7% 14.3% 12.8% 9.5%

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Earnings estimates provided by Zacks