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.
We know earnings results are vital, but how a company performs compared to bottom line expectations can be even more important when it comes to stock prices, especially in the near-term. This means that investors might want to take advantage of these earnings surprises.
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.
The core of the ESP model is comparing the Most Accurate Estimate to the Zacks Consensus Estimate, where the resulting percentage difference between the two equals the Expected Surprise Prediction. The Zacks Rank is also factored into the ESP metric to better help find companies that appear poised to top their next bottom-line consensus estimate, which will hopefully help lift the stock price.
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.
Stocks with a ranking of #3 (Hold), or 60% of all stocks covered by the Zacks Rank, are expected to perform in-line with the broader market. Stocks with rankings of #2 (Buy) and #1 (Strong Buy), or the top 15% and top 5% of stocks, respectively, should outperform the market; Strong Buy stocks should outperform more than any other rank.
Should You Consider FedEx?
The final step today is to look at a stock that meets our ESP qualifications. FedEx (FDX) earns a #2 (Buy) 21 days from its next quarterly earnings release on December 19, 2023, and its Most Accurate Estimate comes in at $4.30 a share.
By taking the percentage difference between the $4.30 Most Accurate Estimate and the $4.07 Zacks Consensus Estimate, FedEx has an Earnings ESP of +5.6%. Investors should also know that FDX 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.
FDX is just one of a large group of Transportation stocks with a positive ESP figure. Copa Holdings (CPA) is another qualifying stock you may want to consider.
Slated to report earnings on February 21, 2024, Copa Holdings holds a #3 (Hold) ranking on the Zacks Rank, and it's Most Accurate Estimate is $3.85 a share 85 days from its next quarterly update.
For Copa Holdings, the percentage difference between its Most Accurate Estimate and its Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.81 is +1.09%.
FDX and CPA's positive ESP figures tell us that both stocks have a good chance at beating analyst expectations in their next earnings report.
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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