(SOLR) Increase Odds of Positive Earnings Surprises

Surprises are, by definition, unexpected. However, since we know that companies that report better-than-expected earnings tend to see their share prices rise after the announcement, and those that disappoint sink, it would be nice to be able to get in front of those that are likely to do better than expected and get out of the way of those which are going to disappoint.

Not easy to do, but there is a way to improve your odds. I like to look for the combination of three inter-related factors in trying to figure out who will post positive surprises, and who will disappoint.

Check the Recent History

I start with the fact that historically, companies that reported a positive surprise last time around are much more likely to do so in the next quarter than those that reported in line or disappointed. I thus required every firm in the screen below to have had a positive earnings surprise in its previous quarter.

However, positive earnings surprises are much more common than negative surprises. In the S&P 500, a “normal quarter” will have about three times as many firms reporting better-than-expected EPS than below-expected earnings.

Upward Revisions Are Key

The next thing I looked for was rising estimates for the quarter that is about to be reported. Often analysts will get a whiff that something good is going to happen, and will raise their estimates. However, they tend to be reluctant to go too far out on a limb, so if the consensus is looking for XYZ Corp. to earn $1.00 for the quarter, and the analyst gets information suggesting that the firm might be able to report $1.50, they do not raise their estimate all the way to $1.50. Instead they might raise it to say $1.25. That would make them the high estimate.

If the company does indeed report $1.50, they still look like a hero; if they report $1.00 they were not that far away from the herd, and thus retain some job security. Also, not all the analysts will get (or properly interpret) the information. If there are 10 analysts providing estimates for the quarter, one analyst raising his estimate from $1.00 to $1.25 would only raise the consensus (average) estimate by 2.5%. If another analyst follow suit the next month, that will raise the consensus by about another 2.5%.

This is one of the key reasons that an estimate in motion tends to stay in motion, and why it is so vital to pay attention to estimate revisions. I required that the consensus estimate for the completed, about to be released quarter have increased by at least 3% over the last four weeks. I did not insist on any particular level of expected earnings for the quarter, but the information, as well as what the company earned last year, is provided in the table below.

Keep in mind that low absolute levels tend to go hand in hand with big percentage changes. A move of a penny is a much bigger change if the base is $0.02 than if it is $1.00. The table below is sorted by the increase in the quarterly estimate.

Check the FY Estimate Momentum

I also wanted a sense that the estimate momentum for other periods was positive. The second quarter is, after all, part of the full fiscal year. Usually, increases for the quarter should be matched (at least in dollar, if not percentage, terms) by increases for the full fiscal year. There are exceptions to this — for example, a big contract being booked in the second quarter rather than the third. But that sort of surprise is less likely to lead to big upward price moves.

My proxy for estimate momentum other than in the just-finished quarter is the Zacks Rank. I only considered those firms rated either #2 (Buy) or #1 (Strong Buy). Those are the strongest 20% of the firms out there on estimate momentum.

Creating a Workable List

By limiting the list to firms with Market Capitalizations of over $500 million, the list was whittled down to 31 firms. It is a remarkably diverse group. About half of the names are based outside the U.S. Nine of the 16 Zacks economic sectors are represented, but the biggest concentration is in Energy (8 firms) and Technology (7 firms).

Valuations also vary widely, with 7 firms having single-digit P/E ratios and seven having P/E ratios over 20, based on the consensus estimates for this year.

While there is no guarantee that these firms will all post better-than-expected earnings this quarter, history suggests that there odds of doing so are much better than average.

Company Ticker Completed Q Cons Est Q EPS Before NRI Last EPS Surprise % % Chng Curr Q Est – 4 wk % Chg Curr FY Est -1 wk % Chg Next FY Est – 4 wks Zacks Rank Market Cap ($ mil)
Gt Solar Intl (SOLR) $0.31 $0.11 20.59% 128.70% 0.00% 11.32% 1 $2,037
Merck Kgaa (MKGAF) $2.62 $1.56 0.94% 60.74% 0.00% 24.40% 1 $6,801
Amer Intl Grp (AIG) $1.18 $1.99 966.67% 49.91% -1.75% 1.34% 1 $56,865
Silicon Graphic (SGI) ($0.05) ($0.55) 142.86% 43.75% -4.15% 10.64% 2 $541
Imperial Oil Lt (IMO) $1.21 $0.54 18.52% 22.22% 0.00% 12.46% 1 $40,108
Hollyfrontier (HFC) $2.56 $1.24 18.12% 20.41% 3.05% 29.30% 1 $3,829
Constant Contac (CTCT) $0.01 ($0.03) 14.29% 20.00% 0.00% -2.00% 2 $743
Copa Hldgs Sa-A (CPA) $0.71 $0.60 35.77% 15.78% 1.50% 3.76% 1 $2,983
Alon Usa Energy (ALJ) $0.46 ($0.55) 47.62% 15.35% 51.80% 270.00% 2 $610
Suncor Energy (SU) $0.74 $0.48 73.02% 13.59% 0.00% 0.56% 1 $62,376
Pepco Hldgs (POM) $0.29 $0.34 35.00% 12.82% 0.00% 0.42% 2 $4,488
Orbotech Ltd (ORBK) $0.52 $0.45 62.50% 9.09% 0.00% 6.86% 1 $543
Basic Egy Svcs (BAS) $0.37 ($0.31) 900.00% 8.93% 4.16% 12.81% 1 $1,372
Om Group Inc (OMG) $0.77 $0.67 59.38% 8.54% 0.00% 16.37% 1 $1,266
Delek Us Hldgs (DK) $0.58 $0.23 40.91% 8.14% 0.00% 11.88% 1 $911
Youku.Com- Adr (YOKU) ($0.06) N/A 22.22% 8.00% 0.00% 23.53% 2 $2,812
Grupo Galic Adr (GGAL) $0.41 $0.10 21.05% 7.89% 0.00% 1.46% 1 $1,732
Siemens Ag-Adr (SI) $2.61 $2.05 98.37% 6.67% -0.29% 0.41% 2 $120,787
Pan Amer Silver (PAAS) $0.76 $0.17 9.09% 4.80% 0.00% 13.05% 1 $3,270
Huntsman Corp (HUN) $0.49 $0.29 95.83% 4.59% 3.16% 8.36% 1 $4,650
Aveo Pharmaceut (AVEO) ($0.78) ($0.50) 500.00% 4.49% -2175.00% -10.34% 1 $839
Embraer Air-Adr (ERJ) $0.47 $0.39 70.59% 4.13% 0.00% 0.65% 1 $5,773
Usana Hlth Sci (USNA) $0.75 $0.69 4.48% 4.05% -0.26% 0.51% 2 $528
Triple-S Mgmt-B (GTS) $0.57 $0.67 18.92% 3.66% 0.00% 0.79% 2 $641
Transdigm Group (TDG) $0.99 $0.86 13.25% 3.54% 1.51% 2.56% 2 $4,663
Targa Resources (NGLS) $0.37 $0.23 54.17% 3.50% 0.16% -0.51% 1 $3,100
Liquidity Svcs (LQDT) $0.15 $0.12 80.00% 3.45% 0.00% 4.91% 1 $647
Helix Egy Solut (HLX) $0.19 $0.18 166.67% 3.38% 0.00% 0.00% 2 $1,769
Caci Intl A (CACI) $1.16 $0.96 12.62% 3.23% 2.73% 3.59% 2 $1,956
Capital One Fin (COF) $1.66 $1.78 46.41% 3.08% 0.00% 0.86% 2 $24,184
Park National (PRK) $1.11 $1.30 31.63% 3.03% 0.53% -0.43% 2 $1,020

AMER INTL GRP (AIG): Free Stock Analysis Report

IMPERIAL OIL LT (IMO): Free Stock Analysis Report

SILICON GRAPHIC (SGI): Free Stock Analysis Report

GT SOLAR INTL (SOLR): Free Stock Analysis Report

Zacks Investment Research

About vitalstocks

This is a sample profile field. Vitalstocks is the operating company for Stockbloghub. This will place the picture of the author or company in the profile. Here is another extra line of information.

Comments

Powered by Facebook Comments


Similar Posts: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | Semiconductor - Specialized | Technology

RSS feeds: AIG | ALJ | Alon USA Energy Inc. | American International Group Inc | BAS | Basic Energy Services Inc. | CACI | CACI International Inc. | Capital One Financial Corporation | COF | Constant Contact Inc | Copa Holdings SA | CPA | CTCT | Delek US Holdings Inc. | DK | EMBRAER - Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica S.A. | ERJ | GGAL | Grupo Financiero Galicia S.A. | GT Solar International Inc | GTS | Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc | HLX | HUN | Huntsman Corporation | IMO | Imperial Oil Limited | Liquidity Services Inc | LQDT | NGLS | OM Group Inc. | OMG | ORBK | Orbotech Limited | PAAS | Pan American Silver Corporation | Park National Corporation | Pepco Holdings Inc. | POM | PRK | SGI | SI | Siemens AG | Silicon Graphics International Corporation | SOLR | SU | Suncor Energy Inc | Targa Resources Partners LP | TDG | TransDigm Group Incorporated | Triple-S Management Corporation | USANA Health Sciences Inc. | USNA | Semiconductor - Specialized | Technology |

Other Posts by | RSS Feed for this author