It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Sysco (SYY - Free Report) . Shares have added about 1% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.
Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Sysco due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers. <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Sysco's Q4 Earnings Meet Expectations, Sales Up Y/Y</strong><br /><br />Sysco Corporation reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 results. Adjusted earnings of 94 cents per share jumped 30.6% year over year and were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The results broke the company’s four-quarter long trend of earnings beat. On a GAAP basis, earnings surged 50.1% to 85 cents.<br /><br />This global food products maker and distributor’s sales of $15,316 million advanced 6.2% year over year. However, the figure fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $15,450 million.<br /><br />Gross profit improved 5.7% to $2,916.7 million in the quarter, courtesy of higher sales. However, gross margin fell 9 basis points (bps) to 19%. Further, adjusted operating income rose 15.7% to $771.2 million, while adjusted operating margin improved 41 bps to 5%.<br /><br /><strong>Segment Details</strong><br /><br /><strong>U.S. Foodservice Operations</strong><br /><br />Segment sales advanced 6.1% to $10,407.6 million, where local case volumes within U.S. Broadline operations climbed 5% (including organic sales growth of 3%) and total case volumes ascended 5.3% (wherein organic sales increased 3.5%). Gross profit expanded 5.2% to $2,086.8 million, while gross margin contracted 18 bps to 20.05%. The downside was caused by food cost inflation in U.S. Broadline, particularly in dairy, frozen potatoes and vegetables as well as in paper and disposables. Further, adjusted operating income climbed 7.1% to $869.3 million.<br /><br /><strong>International Foodservice Operations</strong><br /><br />Segment sales increased 7.9% to roughly $2,947 million. Foreign exchange benefited segment sales by almost 1% during the period. Gross profit jumped 9.3% to $639 million, while gross margin rose 28 bps to 21.68%. Also, adjusted operating income rose 10% to $101.5 million.<br /><br /><strong>SYGMA</strong><br /><br />Sales in this segment improved 3.6% to $1,677.5 million. Gross profit rose 10.2% to $135.8 million and gross margin increased 48 bps to 8.10%. Operating income increased 47.5% to $11.6 million.<br /><br /><strong>Other Updates</strong><br /><br />Sysco ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $552.3 million, long-term debt of $7,540.8 million and total shareholders’ equity of $2,507 million.<br /><br />During fiscal 2018, the company generated cash flow from operations of $2,158.6 million and incurred net capital expenditure of $666 million.<br /><br />Additionally, the company is pleased with its fiscal 2018 performance, which marks the successful completion of its three-year plan that was initiated in fiscal 2015. During this three-year period, the company achieved local case growth of 3%. Also, it attained adjusted gross profit CAGR of 4.2% and adjusted operating income CAGR of 11.1%.</p>
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
Fresh estimates followed an upward path over the past two months.
At this time, Sysco has a strong Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a bit on the Momentum Score front with a B. Following the exact same course, the stock was allocated a grade of B on the value side, putting it in the top 40% for this investment strategy.
Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
Sysco has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.