Looking for Stocks with Positive Earnings Momentum? Check Out These 2 Business Services Names

Two factors often determine stock prices in the long run: earnings and interest rates. Investors can't control the latter, but they can focus on a company's earnings results every quarter.

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.

Hunting for 'earnings whispers' or companies poised to beat their quarterly earnings estimates is a somewhat common practice. But that doesn't make it easy. One way that has been proven to work is by using the Zacks Earnings ESP tool.

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.

With this in mind, the Expected Surprise Prediction compares the Most Accurate Estimate (being the most recent) against the overall Zacks Consensus Estimate. The percentage difference provides the ESP figure. The system also utilizes our core Zacks Rank to provide a stronger system for identifying stocks that might beat their next quarterly earnings estimate and possibly see the stock price climb.

In fact, when we combined a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better and a positive Earnings ESP, stocks produced a positive surprise 70% of the time. Perhaps most importantly, using these parameters has helped produce 28.3% annual returns on average, according to our 10 year backtest.

Stocks with a #3 (Hold) ranking, which is most stocks covered at 60%, are expected to perform in-line with the broader market. But stocks that fall into the #2 (Buy) and #1 (Strong Buy) ranking, 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 Geo Group?

The last thing we will do today, now that we have a grasp on the ESP and how powerful of a tool it can be, is to quickly look at a qualifying stock. Geo Group (GEO) holds a #1 (Strong Buy) at the moment and its Most Accurate Estimate comes in at $0.20 a share eight days away from its upcoming earnings release on May 7, 2024.

GEO has an Earnings ESP figure of +3.9%, which, as explained above, is calculated by taking the percentage difference between the $0.20 Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.19. Geo Group is one of a large database 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.

GEO is just one of a large group of Business Services stocks with a positive ESP figure. Fiserv (FI) is another qualifying stock you may want to consider.

Slated to report earnings on July 24, 2024, Fiserv holds a #2 (Buy) ranking on the Zacks Rank, and it's Most Accurate Estimate is $2.09 a share 86 days from its next quarterly update.

Fiserv's Earnings ESP figure currently stands at +0.01% after taking the percentage difference between its Most Accurate Estimate and its Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.09.

GEO and FI'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 >>

Only $1 to See All Zacks' Buys and Sells

We're not kidding.

Several years ago, we shocked our members by offering them 30-day access to all our picks for the total sum of only $1. No obligation to spend another cent.

Thousands have taken advantage of this opportunity. Thousands did not - they thought there must be a catch. Yes, we do have a reason. We want you to get acquainted with our portfolio services like Surprise Trader, Stocks Under $10, Technology Innovators,and more, that closed 228 positions with double- and triple-digit gains in 2023 alone.

See Stocks Now >>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

Geo Group Inc (The) (GEO) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Fiserv, Inc. (FI) : Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

More Related Articles

Info icon

This data feed is not available at this time.

Sign up for the TradeTalks newsletter to receive your weekly dose of trading news, trends and education. Delivered Wednesdays.