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Interpublic (IPG) Up 19.7% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Interpublic Group (IPG). Shares have added about 19.7% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Interpublic 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.

Interpublic Beats on Q4 Earnings & Revenues

Interpublic reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2020 results.

Adjusted earnings of 86 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.9% but declined 2.3% on a year-over-year basis.

Net revenues of $2.28 billion marginally beat the consensus estimate but declined 21.3% on a year-over-year basis. The downside was caused by organic net revenues fall of 5.4% and negative 0.8% impact of net dispositions. Total revenues of $2.55 billion declined 12.1% year over year.

Operating Results

Operating income in fourth-quarter 2020 came in at $223.4 million compared with $491.3 million in the prior-year quarter. Operating margin on net revenues fell to 9.8% from 20.2% in the year-ago quarter. Operating margin on total revenues fell to 8.8% from 16.9% in the year-ago quarter.

Adjusted EBITA came in at $244.9 million, compared with $512.7 million at the end of the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITA margin on net revenues declined to 10.7% from 21.1% in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted EBITA margin on total revenues rose to 9.6% from 17.6% in the year-ago quarter.

Total operating expenses of $2.33 billion declined 3.5% year over year.

Balance Sheet

As of Dec 31, 2020, Interpublic had cash and cash equivalents of $2.51 billion compared with $1.63 billion at the end of the prior quarter. Total debt was $3.47 billion compared with $3.96 billion at the end of the prior quarter.

Dividend Hike

On Feb 10, 2021, the company announced that its board of directors declared a cash dividend of 27 cents per share, up 5.9% from its prior dividend of 25.5 cents. The dividend will be payable to its shareholders on Mar 15, as of record date Mar 1.

During the quarter the company paid out a cash dividend of 25.5 cents per share, amounting to $99.5 million.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates review have trended upward during the past month. The consensus estimate has shifted 27.27% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

Currently, Interpublic has a nice Growth Score of B, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with an F. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top quintile for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of this revision looks promising. It comes with little surprise Interpublic has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.


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