When last we rang up grandmaster fax and Motley Fool Hidden Gems Watch List stock J2Global Communications
What's more, the company saw no signs of business slowing down. On the contrary, after reporting earnings back in July, J2 proceeded to up its forward guidance and predict that fiscal 2005 would see it produce the same sales it had previously expected ($145 million to $148 million) but at a much higher level of profitability, boosting the firm's EPS estimates up to $1.82 to $1.87 per diluted share.
To date, J2 has already booked $0.86 worth of those profits, leaving it about a buck shy of hitting its target. On Monday, when the company reports Q3 2005 earnings, we should receive some more insight into how likely the company is to achieve its lofty goal of 43% to 47% year-on-year earnings growth.
Right now, analysts are predicting that J2 will report $38 million in revenues and $0.48 in profits per diluted share on Monday. Will they be proved right? Judging from past experience, it's not likely. In each of the last four quarters, analysts have underestimated J2's ability to churn fax paper into gold, generally falling about $0.02 short of getting the correct answer for J2's quarterly profits. If that trend holds true, we're probably looking at J2 producing about $0.50 per share on Monday -- half the distance that remains to be traveled if J2 is to hit the upper range of its annual guidance.
Considering the company's past performance, I'm optimistic that J2 will both clear the hurdle that analysts have set for it on Monday and, further down the road, hit or beat its own earnings targets for the year. But Fools should be aware that there's also a sizeable bear camp surrounding this stock. Short interest in J2 remains sky high at more than 17% of the company's float -- hardly down at all from the 19% short interest we observed back in April.
So who will be proven right: the company, or the analysts and short sellers? Tune in Monday to find out.
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