The earnings season is in to the last phase with 411 S&P companies having already reported results till Feb 17. The earnings picture that has emerged so far has hitherto confirmed that the overall results for Oct-Dec 2016 are likely to be the best in about two years.
Total earnings for these 411 companies are up 8% on 4.9% higher revenues, with 68.9% beating earnings estimates and 54.7% surpassing top-line expectations. Based on the hitherto observed pattern, the quarter is anticipated to register high single-digit percentage growth on a year-over-year basis.
Per the latest Earnings Preview , overall October-December quarter's earnings for all the S&P 500 companies are expected to be up 7.4% year over year on 3.9% growth in revenues. This represents a healthy improvement from the prior quarter that ended the earnings recession of five consecutive quarters for the benchmark index. The relative improvement in the quarterly performance is largely due to a turnaround in the economy, improved job market scenario and rising oil prices . Experts widely believe that earnings growth is likely to be in double digits in 2017 and beyond.
For the quarter as a whole, about four of the 16 Zacks sectors are expected to witness an earnings decline, with Autos, Conglomerates and Transportation being the biggest drag.
The Business Services sector is looking impressive this time. For the sector, earnings are expected to grow 11% year over year, while sales are touted to rise 7.5% driven by higher capital investment in the infrastructure market and improved economic and labor market conditions.
Let's have a sneak peek at four major Business Services stocks scheduled to report earnings on Feb 21 to see how things are shaping up for the upcoming results.
Verisk Analytics, Inc.VRSK is slated to report fourth-quarter 2016 earnings after the closing bell. During the quarter, Verisk Insurance Solutions launched its new energy insurance unit. This unit will focus on providing analytical services to the oil and gas, petrochemicals, power generation, and metals and mining industries to help improve operational efficiencies, minimize costs, and expand profitably. This will, in turn, help the company improve its top line in the to-be-reported quarter. A stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold) for a likely earnings beat. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here . For the impending quarter, Verisk has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and Zacks Rank #2, making a surprise prediction difficult. (Read more: What's in Store for Verisk this Earnings Season? )
Verisk Analytics, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise
Waste Connections, Inc.WCN is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2016 earnings after the closing bell. Waste Connections' merger with rival Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd has created an industry leader with enhanced scale and a stronger financial profile. With complementary footprint, the combined company has pro forma revenues of approximately $4.1 billion and operates an integrated network of solid waste operations across North America. The combined company will benefit from a diverse revenue base and has strategic assets uniquely positioned for continued growth. In addition, the combination is expected to generate approximately $50 million in annualized SG&A cost savings within the first 12 months after closing, with operational and safety-related improvements and market rationalization contributing additional upside over the long-term. We cannot conclusively predict earnings beat this quarter as the company has a Zacks Rank #2 and an ESP of 0.00%.
Waste Connections, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise
You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they're reported with our Earnings ESP Filter .
Copart, Inc.CPRT is set to release second-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings results after the market closes . The company is a prominent player in online auctions and vehicle remarketing services in the U.S., Canada, U.K., UAE, Bahrain, India, Sultanate of Oman, Spain, Brazil, Germany, and the Republic of Ireland. Copart is expanding in strategic locations across the globe to manage increasing volumes. Over the trailing four quarters it has managed to beat estimates on every occasion, with an average negative surprise of 9.13%. For the quarter to be reported, we are uncertain of an earnings beat as the company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #2.
Copart, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise
Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers IncorporatedRBA is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2016 earnings before the opening bell. The company conducts unreserved public auctions every year across North and Central America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East. It is renowned for its innovative auction methods, attention to detail and total commitment to the unreserved auction. Over the trailing four quarters the company missed estimates twice, with an average positive surprise of 0.14%. For the quarter to be reported, we are uncertain of an earnings beat as the company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #3.
Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Incorporated Price and EPS Surprise
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