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Moody's (MCO) Beats on Q3 Earnings & Revenues, Ups 2020 View

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Moody's (MCO - Free Report) reported third-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings of $2.69 per share, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.19. Also, the bottom line improved 25% from the year-ago quarter.

Revenue growth on the back of impressive global bond issuance volume largely drove the results. However, higher operating expenses posed the undermining factor.

After taking into consideration certain non-recurring items, net income was $467 million or $2.47 per share, up from $383 million or $1.99 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Revenues Improve, Costs Up

Revenues of $1.36 billion beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.25 billion. Also, the top line grew 9% year over year. Foreign currency translation favorably impacted the top line by 1%.

Total expenses were $714 million, up 3% from the prior-year quarter. Higher incentive compensation expenses and restructuring charge due to the exit of certain real estate leases were the primary reasons for the rise. Also, foreign currency translation unfavorably impacted operating expenses by 1%.

Adjusted operating income of $721 million increased 17%. Adjusted operating margin was 53.2%, up from 49.5% a year ago.

Impressive Segment Performance

Moody’s Investors Service revenues grew 11% year over year to $825 million, attributable to rise in issuance activity. Foreign currency translation favorably impacted the segment’s revenues by 1%.

Corporate finance revenues increased from the prior-year period, driven by robust investment and speculative grade bond issuances. Also, financial institutions’ revenues grew, primarily backed by a rise in activities from U.S. banks and securities companies.

Further, public, project and infrastructure finance revenues increased from the year-ago level, reflecting strong U.S. public finance issuance. However, structured finance revenues declined, mainly due to lower U.S. and EMEA collateralized loan obligation activity.

Moody’s Analytics revenues grew 7% year over year to $531 million. Foreign currency translation favorably impacted the segment’s revenues by 2%.

The segment recorded growth in research, data and analytics revenues, as well as Enterprise Risk Solutions revenues.

Strong Balance Sheet

As of Sep 30, 2020, Moody’s had total cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $2.6 billion, up from $1.9 billion on Dec 31, 2019. Further, it had $6.4 billion of outstanding debt and $1 billion in additional borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility.

2020 Guidance Raised

Given impressive performance so far this year, Moody’s has raised its 2020 earnings guidance. The company now expects adjusted earnings in the range of $9.30-$9.50 per share (up from the prior expectation of $8.80-$9.20). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the bottom line for 2020 is $9.55, which is above the higher end of the adjusted earnings guidance.

On GAAP basis, earnings are expected within $9.95-$10.15 per share, up from the earlier guided range of $8.15-$8.55.

Moody’s now projects revenues to increase in the high-single-digit percent range. This is up from the prior guidance of rise in the low-single-digit percent range.

Operating expenses are expected to rise in the low-single-digit percent range versus the prior guidance of remaining relatively stable.

Our Viewpoint

Moody’s remain well positioned for growth on the back of a strong market position, strength in diverse operations and strategic acquisitions. However, steadily increasing operating expenses will likely hurt its financials to some extent.

Moodys Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Moodys Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Moodys Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Moodys Corporation Quote

Currently, Moody’s carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


Earnings Release Date of Other Finance Stocks

KKR & Co. Inc. (KKR - Free Report) , LendingClub Corporation (LC - Free Report) and FS KKR Capital Corp. (FSK - Free Report) are scheduled to announce quarterly results on Oct 30, Nov 4 and Nov 9, respectively.

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