What to Look for in EMC Earnings

Paul Ausick

Enterprise storage giant EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) reports second-quarter earnings before the opening bell on Wednesday, and consensus estimates call for earnings per share (EPS) of $0.41 on revenues of $6.1 billion. In the same period of last year, EMC reported EPS of $0.43 on revenues of $5.88 billion. The EPS estimate has come down two cents in the past 90 days.

In the first quarter, EMC’s retiring chief executive reached an agreement with activist investor Paul Singer’s Elliott Management that allowed Elliott to have some input into the appointment of two new board members in exchange for an agreement to get out of EMC’s hair until the later this year. Elliott wants to spin off the VMware portion of EMC and sell of what is left in pieces. EMC spun off 15% of VMware into its own publicly traded company, VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), in 1998. About 65% of EMC’s market cap is due to its holdings in VMware.

The most recent analysts’ ratings on EMC stock come from JPMorgan, which maintained a Neutral rating but lowered the target price from $26 to $25 per share, and Jefferies, which maintained a Buy rating but also lowered its price target from $31 to $30. A third recent rating, from Oppenheimer, reiterated a Strong Buy but also lowered the price target by a buck, from $32 to $31. Summit Research downgraded the shares from Buy to Hold and cut the price target from $34 to $26 a share.

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The consensus price target on the stock is $29.90, and at the current trading price of around $25 a share, the implied upside on EMC stock is 19.6%. So, either an investor can believe that there really is that much upside to EMC or that investor can join up with Elliott Management and argue for a break-up of the firm that is worth more in pieces than as a whole pie.

Shares traded down fractionally Tuesday afternoon, at $24.93 in a 52-week range of $24.80 to $30.92.