As fourth-quarter earnings reports begin to wind down, and with three-quarters of the year already in the books, I can't help but point out that the majority of reports up until now have been better than expected. With so many companies reporting during the weeks that comprise earnings season, it's easy for some earnings reports to fall through the cracks.

Each week this year, I've taken a look at three companies that could be worth further research after either beating or missing their profit expectations. Today, we'll take a gander at three more companies that reported earnings last week. They may have slid under your radar, but they deserve a look.


Consensus EPS

Reported EPS


Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK)












Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Warning, short-term pessimists may appear closer than they actually are! Computer-aided design software maker Autodesk reported third-quarter results late last week that, while beating on an adjusted basis by $0.04, didn't quite meet investors' standards in terms of revenue and guidance.

Autodesk announced a charge-heavy adjusted quarterly profit of $0.47 and a $1 million decline in overall sales to $548 million over the year-ago period, missing both Wall Street's, and its own, previous guidance. What's more, operating margin dipped 300 basis points while expenses rose by 410 basis points as it experienced a slowdown in international markets and warned of a negative effect in the upcoming quarter because of Hurricane Sandy. 

But, if you can ignore your bifocals for a moment and look out into the distance, the sun is still shining brightly on Autodesk. The company is investing now at the expense of operating margins in its cloud-computing and mobile business, which should help pay long-term dividends and put it well ahead of its peers. Autodesk also has an extremely large cash hoard, ending the quarter with $1.33 billion in cash and no debt, giving it incredible flexibility to penetrate emerging and international markets as it sees fit. It may not look like much now, but Autodesk appears to be a long-term winner.

Gold mining company IAMGOLD completely fooled investors last week in the worst way possible: by missing on earnings and lowering its production estimates by double digits.

As my Foolish colleague and mining investor extraordinaire Christopher Barker expounded on Friday, much of the miss had to do with a myriad of weather and processing plant issues at the Sadiola Mine in Mali, where it and joint venture partner AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) produced far less gold than expected. Furthermore, as Chris notes, a reduced capital spending plan has tempered production guidance to levels that are about 13% below where they were originally. 

Just like with Autodesk, though, if you look beyond what's right in front of your face, there are plenty of things to like. Assuming IAMGOLD develops its Cote Gold mine and begins production on its Westwood mine next year, there's a good chance that production could double within three to five years. Best of all, the cash cost per ounce on these mines should remain relatively low giving the company huge profit margins. Lastly, IAMGOLD has in excess of $1.1 billion in cash, so it's not facing the same cash crunch that smaller miners are currently dealing with. Like I said, if you look for the long term, there's plenty to like here.

There are earnings misses, and then there was "Yikes!" moments; this was most definitely a "Yikes!" moment!

In the third-quarter, Velti reported a loss of $0.03 ($0.06 worse than expected) despite a robust uptick of 63% in revenue to $62.4 million. Expenses rose for the mobile marketing company as higher research and development costs ate into its bottom line. Worse yet, Velti's fourth-quarter revenue forecast wasn't anywhere near what the Street had been looking for. Velti also plans to rid itself of assets in poorly performing countries and announced plans to sell its operations in Greece and a few other Balkan countries for $23.5 million.

That CAPScall of mine is looking pretty ugly right about now, but I'm not ready to admit defeat just yet. What we need to remember is that the largest mobile marketing player, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), still doesn't have a defined platform in mobile yet, meaning its anyone's game. With mobile advertising in its infancy, expanding its operations at the expense of profits isn't such a horrible idea if it means it can take share from Google or other industry players. I may have been a bit premature with my expectations of profitability, but Velti still looks capable of being a long-term mobile marketing winner.

Foolish roundup
Sometimes an earnings beat or miss isn't as cut-and-dried as it appears. I've given my two cents on what's next for each of these companies -- now it's your turn to sound off. Share your thoughts in the comments section below and consider adding these stocks to your free and personalized watchlist.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.