Wall Street watches a company's quarterly report closely to understand as much as possible about its recent performance and what to expect going forward. Of course, one figure often stands out among the rest: earnings.
The earnings figure itself is key, of course, but a beat or miss on the bottom line can sometimes be just as, if not more, important. Therefore, investors should consider paying close attention to these earnings surprises, as a big beat can help a stock climb and vice versa.
Now that we know how important earnings and earnings surprises are, it's time to show investors how to take advantage of these events to boost their returns by utilizing the Zacks Earnings ESP filter.
The Zacks Earnings ESP, Explained
The Zacks Expected Surprise Prediction, or ESP, works by locking in on the most up-to-date analyst earnings revisions because they can be more accurate than estimates from weeks or even months before the actual release date. The thinking is pretty straightforward: analysts who provide earnings estimates closer to the report are likely to have more information.
Now that we understand the basic idea, let's look at how the Expected Surprise Prediction works. The ESP is calculated by comparing the Most Accurate Estimate to the Zacks Consensus Estimate, with the percentage difference between the two giving us the Zacks ESP figure.
Bringing together a positive earnings ESP alongside a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better has helped stocks report a positive earnings surprise 70% of the time. Furthermore, by using these parameters, investors have seen 28.3% annual returns on average, according to our 10 year backtest.
Most stocks, about 60%, fall into the #3 (Hold) category, and they are expected to perform in-line with the broader market. Stocks with a #2 (Buy) and #1 (Strong Buy) rating, or the top 15% and top 5% of stocks, respectively, should outperform the market, with Strong Buy stocks outperforming more than any other rank.
Should You Consider PBF Energy?
Now that we understand what the ESP is and how beneficial it can be, let's dive into a stock that currently fits the bill. PBF Energy (PBF) earns a #3 (Hold) right now and its Most Accurate Estimate sits at $4.95 a share, just 13 days from its upcoming earnings release on February 16, 2023.
By taking the percentage difference between the $4.95 Most Accurate Estimate and the $4.63 Zacks Consensus Estimate, PBF Energy has an Earnings ESP of +7.04%. Investors should also know that PBF is one of a large group of stocks with positive ESPs. Make sure to utilize our Earnings ESP Filter to uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they've reported.
PBF is one of just a large database of Oils and Energy stocks with positive ESPs. Another solid-looking stock is Cheniere Energy (LNG).
Slated to report earnings on February 23, 2023, Cheniere Energy holds a #3 (Hold) ranking on the Zacks Rank, and it's Most Accurate Estimate is $8.16 a share 20 days from its next quarterly update.
Cheniere Energy's Earnings ESP figure currently stands at +18.82% after taking the percentage difference between its Most Accurate Estimate and its Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6.87.
Because both stocks hold a positive Earnings ESP, PBF and LNG could potentially post earnings beats in their next reports.
Find Stocks to Buy or Sell Before They're Reported
Use the Zacks Earnings ESP Filter to turn up stocks with the highest probability of positively, or negatively, surprising to buy or sell before they're reported for profitable earnings season trading. Check it out here >>
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