Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW) reported earnings on Jan. 31. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Illinois Tool Works met expectations on revenue and beat expectations on earnings per share.

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

Margins improved across the board.

Revenue details
Illinois Tool Works chalked up revenue of $4.32 billion. The 15 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ hoped for sales of $4.37 billion. Sales were 3.6% higher than the prior-year quarter's $4.17 billion.

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

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.90. The 19 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.88 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.91 for Q4 were 17% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.78 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 35.2%, 90 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 15.0%, 110 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 10.2%, 80 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $4.56 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.98.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $18.99 billion. The average EPS estimate is $4.13.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 776 members out of 798 rating the stock outperform, and 22 members rating it underperform. Among 265 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 261 give Illinois Tool Works a green thumbs-up, and four give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Illinois Tool Works is outperform, with an average price target of $53.50.

Can your portfolio provide you with enough income to last through retirement? You'll need more than Illinois Tool Works. Learn how to maximize your investment income in our free report: "Secure Your Future With 11 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks." Click here for instant access to this free report.

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. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Illinois Tool Works. 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.