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Moody's (MCO) Q4 Earnings Beat, Revenues Down Y/Y, Stock Up

Moody's MCO reported fourth-quarter 2022 adjusted earnings of $1.60 per share, which handily beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.42. The bottom line, however, plunged 31% from the year-ago quarter figure.

Shares of the company have gained 1.8% in pre-market trading. This is largely driven by encouraging quarterly performance and upbeat 2023 guidance.

Lower operating expenses and Moody’s Analytics segment’s solid performance support Moody’s results. The company’s liquidity position was robust during the quarter. Yet, subdued issuance volume was a major headwind, which hurt Moody’s top line.

After taking into consideration certain non-recurring items, net income attributable to Moody's was $246 million or $1.34 per share, down from $427 million or $2.28 per share in the prior-year quarter.

In 2022, adjusted earnings per share of $8.57 declined 30% year over year but surpassed the consensus estimate of $8.39. Net income attributable to Moody's (GAAP) was $1.37 billion or $7.44 per share, down from $2.21 billion or $11.78 per share in 2021.

Revenues & Costs Down

Quarterly revenues were $1.29 billion, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.25 billion. The top line, however, declined 16% year over year. Foreign currency translation unfavorably impacted revenues by 3%.

In 2022, revenues decreased 12% year over year to $5.47 billion. The top line, nonetheless, beat the consensus estimate of $5.43 billion.

Total expenses were $984 million, down 4%.

Adjusted operating income of $477 million was down 12%. Adjusted operating margin was 37%, down from 38.3% a year ago.

Mixed Segment Performance in the Quarter

Moody’s Investors Service revenues plunged 34% year over year to $576 million. The fall was mainly due to muted capital market activities. Foreign currency translation affected the segment’s revenues by 2%.

Moody’s Analytics revenues grew 7% to $714 million. This was mainly driven by the steady demand for Know Your Customer solutions and credit research. Foreign currency translation unfavorably impacted the segment’s revenues by 5%.

Strong Balance Sheet

As of Dec 31, 2022, Moody’s had total cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $1.86 billion, down from $1.9 billion as of Dec 31, 2021.

The company had $7.4 billion in outstanding debt and $1.25 billion in additional borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility.

Capital Deployment Update

During the quarter, Moody's did not repurchase any shares.

Moody’s announced a quarterly cash dividend of 77 cents per share, representing a 10% hike from the prior payout. The dividend will be paid out on Mar 17 to shareholders as of Feb 24.

Upbeat 2023 Guidance

Moody’s expects adjusted earnings in the range of $9.00-$9.50 per share. On a GAAP basis, earnings are now projected within $8.05-$8.55 per share.

Moody’s projects revenues to increase in the mid-to-high-single-digit percent range.

Operating expenses are expected to increase in the low-single-digit percent range.

Our Take

Moody’s remains well-positioned for growth on the back of a solid market position, strength in diverse operations and strategic acquisitions. However, elevated operating expenses and geopolitical and macroeconomic concerns are likely to hurt its financials.

Moody's Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Moody's Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Moody's Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Moody's Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Moody's Corporation Quote

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Currently, Moody’s carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Earnings Dates & Expectations of Other Finance Stocks

LPL Financial LPLA is scheduled to announce quarterly numbers on Feb 2.

Over the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for LPLA’s quarterly earnings has moved 1.8% north to $4.00, suggesting a 145.4% surge from the prior-year reported number.

SLM Corporation SLM is slated to announce quarterly numbers on Feb 1.

Over the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for SLM Corporation has moved 2.1% lower to 46 cents. This indicates a fall of 56.2% from the prior-year quarter reported number.

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