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Shares of Moody's Corp (MCO - Analyst Report) reached a new 52-week high of $66.70 on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. The company has recently announced modest first-quarter results and provided a positive FY13 outlook.

The closing price of Moody’s on May 14 was $66.68, representing a phenomenal one-year return of about 76.03% and a year-to-date return of about 28.8%. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months stands at approximately 1807.7K.

Moody’s delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 10.72% over the past four quarters. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company has a market cap of $14.86 billion and a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 13.9%.

First Quarter Highlights

Moody’s reported earnings (including litigation settlement charge) of 83 cents which increased 9% on a year-over-year basis. Revenues surged 13.0% year over year to $731.8 million primarily driven by strong performance from both Moody’s Investors Service (“MIS”) and Moody's Analytics (“MA”) division.

Guidance

Moody’s expects 2013 revenues to grow in the high single-digit percent range. Moreover, MIS revenues for 2013 are expected to increase in the high single-digit percent range. Moody’s also expects MA revenues for 2013 to increase in the high single-digit percent range.

Earnings for 2013 are expected to be in the range of $3.49 to $3.59 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $3.58 per share.

Estimate Revision

In the last 30-day period, the Zacks Consensus Estimate moved up a penny to 89 cents for the second quarter. During the period, one upward revision and one subsequent downward revision were done by analysts covering the stock.

Conclusion

Moody’s remains a solid franchise in rating debt instruments based on its diversified credit research business model and international growth opportunities. Moreover, the strength in new domestic debt issuance and the improving clarity over regulatory climate in Europe are positives.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other stocks that are worth considering include Dun & Bradstreet Corp (DNB - Analyst Report) and Factset Research Systems Inc (FDS - Analyst Report) both of which carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Euronet Worldwide (EEFT - Snapshot Report) has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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