3 Earnings Reports That Caught My Attention Last Week

After wrapping up an incredibly strong first quarter of earnings reports, we're halfway through the second quarter, with many reports still coming in 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. If they slid under your radar, they deserve a look:

Company

Consensus EPS

Reported EPS

Surprise

VimpelCom (NYS: VIP) $0.23 $0.20 (13%)
Jack in the Box (NAS: JACK) $0.32 $0.48 50%
InterOil (NYS: IOC) $0.05 $0.19 280%

Source: Yahoo! Finance.


VimpelCom
Being handed a fourth consecutive earnings miss was not what shareholders of Russian mobile provider VimpelCom had in mind. The Russian mobile phone market has really matured within the past couple of years, which means VimpelCom and rival Mobile TeleSystems (NYS: MBT) have had to focus less on subscriber growth and more on growing its profit from existing subscribers.

Although the market has been nothing short of challenging, VimpelCom is successfully making this transition. In the first quarter, revenue grew 3%, while EBITDA jumped 9%. The company noted during the quarter that it would focus less on subscriber growth and instead boost its EBITDA growth by controlling expenses. Ultimately, this should result in improved profitability.

It's also worth keeping in mind that some of the reasons for the earnings shortfall included smaller currency gains, higher tax rates, and debt amortization -- nothing that materially affects the company's growth. As VimpelCom expands internationally and focuses on improving EBITDA growth, expect its stock to rebound accordingly.

Jack in the Box
It's really amazing how quickly results change if you refresh a company's image. We're beginning to see those results translate into better-than-expected profits for Jack in the Box, which spent years remodeling the inside of many of its restaurants.

In the second quarter, Jack in the Box reported a profit that blew analyst estimates out of the water. True, some of that was due to a $14.1 million gain received from selling 37 of its restaurants, but much of it resulted from healthier menu choices, catering to a wider audience, and restaurants with a friendlier appearance. It also expects same-store sales to grow between 3.5% and 4.5% in the upcoming quarter.

The real news here is that Jack in the Box looks to be gaining customers from the struggling Burger King and Wendy's (NYS: WEN) chains, which are both going through an identity crisis at the moment. Burger King's U.S. operations have been ceding market share for years, while Wendy's can't seem to uncover the trick to boosting profits. With Jack in the Box solving both of these problems, it could mean smooth sailing for this fast-food chain.

InterOil
There's little denying that oil and gas exploration companies can be hit-and-miss -- and none more than InterOil, which operates in Papua New Guinea.

The company shocked Wall Street (and me) earlier in the week when it reported a quarterly profit of $0.19, which was nearly quadruple what the Street had been looking for. But the earnings beat quickly turned into a duck-and-cover event after InterOil announced that the Papua New Guinea government intends to cancel the company's liquefied natural-gas project in the country. With natural-gas prices near decade lows, LNG remains one of the few fuels whose price remains elevated, and it is thus crucial to InterOil's profitability.

Although InterOil noted that it has six months to resolve its issue with the Papua New Guinea government, the real issue remains its valuation. At 337 times forward earnings, it's going to take quite a streak of blowout earnings to justify its current valuation.

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.

If you'd like the inside track on three more companies that could wind up in the earnings beat column, then I suggest you get a copy of our latest special report, "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World." Did I mention the best part? This report is completely free, so don't miss out!

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. He's always had a soft spot for an ultimate cheeseburger. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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 that always exceeds expectations.

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