Vale (NYSE: VALE) reported earnings on April 24. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Vale missed estimates on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue increased. Non-GAAP earnings per share dropped. GAAP earnings per share contracted significantly.

Gross margins dropped, operating margins expanded, net margins shrank.

Revenue details
Vale chalked up revenue of $10.94 billion. The 11 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ predicted revenue of $11.38 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were the same as the prior-year quarter's.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.62. The nine earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.53 per share. Non-GAAP EPS of $0.62 for Q1 were 8.8% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.68 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.59 for Q1 were 17% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.71 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 47.5%, 120 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 38.0%, 300 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 28.4%, 590 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. (Margins calculated in GAAP terms.)

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $12.38 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.66.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $49.27 billion. The average EPS estimate is $2.30.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 6,402 members out of 6,571 rating the stock outperform, and 169 members rating it underperform. Among 1,002 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 960 give Vale a green thumbs-up, and 42 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Vale is outperform, with an average price target of $22.50.

Steel is for real, but gold is shiny and increaingly popular as a hedge among those who fear inflation. Should you move beyond Vale and look into a precious metal play? Find out how Motley Fool Analysts think you can profit from inflation and gold with a little-known company we profile in, "The Tiny Gold Stock Digging Up Massive Profits." 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. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.