Covance (NYSE: CVD) reported earnings yesterday. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Covance missed on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue improved, and earnings per share dropped significantly.

Margins contracted across the board.

Revenue details
Covance reported revenue of $532.5 million. The 15 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ looked for a top line of $547.3 million. Sales were 12% higher than the prior-year quarter's $491.5 million.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.73. The 19 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ anticipated $0.73 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.35 for Q4 were 23% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.46 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 27.6%, 20 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 6.7%, 300 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 3.6%, 190 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $536.8 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.66.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $2.21 billion. The average EPS estimate is $2.94.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 318 members out of 326 rating the stock outperform, and eight members rating it underperform. Among 125 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 124 give Covance a green thumbs-up, and one give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Covance is outperform, with an average price target of $59.00.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.