Earnings season is just about over, with almost all companies already having reported their quarterly results. But there are still a few companies left to report, and Winnebago (NYSE:WGO) is about to release its quarterly earnings report. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks that are releasing their quarterly reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed kneejerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

Winnebago may not make the fastest vehicles on the planet, but its stock has been a speedster lately. What's behind the company's stratospheric rise? Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Winnebago over the past quarter, and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Thursday.

Stats on Winnebago



Analyst EPS Estimate


Year-Ago EPS


Revenue Estimate

$170.9 million

Change From Year-Ago Revenue


Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters


Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Winnebago race ahead this quarter?
Analysts have gotten really optimistic on Winnebago recently. They've upped their estimates on earnings for the most-recent quarter by nearly $0.10 per share over the past few months, and they've lifted their full-year fiscal 2013 calls by more than $0.30 per share. The stock has jumped by more than 30% just since late December, after a spectacular 2012 that saw share prices double.

Winnebago was almost a casualty of the 2008 recession. As potential customers saw their savings disappear in the market meltdown, recreational vehicles were the first discretionary-spending item they marked off their list, and many of Winnebago's peers ended up filing for bankruptcy.

Yet, Winnebago managed to survive. Because of Winnebago's vertically integrated business, which includes its own production facilities, the company is able to respond more quickly to changes in consumer demand. Moreover, its customer service gives Winnebago a vital competitive advantage over rival Thor Industries and its Airstream brand of RVs, because customers know that Winnebago will be around to honor warranties and deal with issues.

Moreover, as baby boomers begin to enter retirement, Winnebago should see a natural demographic upturn in sales. Motorcycle-maker Harley Davidson has shown similar promise lately, with growth in its target upper-middle-age customer demographic pointing toward higher revenue, and the stock has risen near multi-year highs as a result. Similarly, Winnebago has regained much of the ground it lost during the financial crisis, and appears poised to continue its winning ways.

In its quarterly report, watch for Winnebago to discuss the impact of stubbornly high fuel prices on its sales. Given how well Winnebago has done, even in the face of high prices at the pump throughout the past year, it seems likely that the RV company will be able to overcome that obstacle once again.

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