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Media Stocks Slated for Earnings on Feb 9: NWSA, WWE, VIAB

The fourth-quarter 2016 earnings season is in full swing with 55% of S&P 500 companies having already reported their quarterly results. We note that the quarter is all set to attain its best performance in the last eight quarters. Taking the growth trajectory ahead, the quarter is likely to witness a new earnings record. Further, we are hopeful of earnings growth (on a year-over-year basis) for the second consecutive quarter after five back-to-back quarters of earnings decline.

Per the Earnings Preview as of Feb 3, 2017, earnings for the total S&P 500 companies will improve 6.8% from the year-ago period with total revenue rising 3.9%.

Per the report, out of the 275 S&P 500 companies that have come up with their quarterly numbers, approximately 68% posted positive earnings surprises, while 54.5% beat the top-line expectations. Total earnings for these index members were up 6.9% from the year-ago quarter, while revenues increased 4.2%.

The performance of the index is not restricted to a single sector, and of the 16 Zacks sectors, four are expected to witness an earnings decline. Of these, Autos, Transportation and Conglomerates are likely to be a major drag.

However, the Consumer Discretionary sector's earnings growth looks decent. Total fourth-quarter earnings for the sector are estimated to rise 3.7%, whereas revenues are projected to improve by 12.0%.

So, let's see what awaits the following media stocks within the Consumer Discretionary sector that are queued up for earnings releases on Feb 9.

Diversified media conglomerate, News CorporationNWSA , is scheduled to report second-quarter fiscal 2017. The company has underperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 10.4% in the trailing four quarters.

Our proven model does not conclusively show that News Corporation is likely to beat earnings estimates this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) and a positive Earnings ESP for this to happen. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

News Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

News Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | News Corporation Quote

News Corporation has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% as both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at 18 cents. The company's Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of ESP. However, we need to have a positive ESP to be confident about an earnings surprise. You may uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they're reported with our Earnings ESP Filter .

News Corporation is in a phase of transition, looking to diversify its revenue streams through strategic acquisitions and operational enhancement. The company is expanding its digital offerings, along with greater emphasis on real estate businesses. However, foreign currency headwinds and soft print advertising demand continue to weigh upon the company's performance to an extent. (Read more: News Corp. Q2 Earnings: Will the Stock Disappoint? )

Another media stock, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.WWE is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2016 financial numbers, before the opening bell. This media and entertainment company has negative earnings surprises of 22.2% and 87.5% for the third and second quarters, respectively. However, it has outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 113.5% in the last four quarters.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Quote

World Wrestling Entertainment has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% as both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at 11 cents. However, the company has a Zacks Rank #3. Though a favorable Zacks Rank increases the predictive power, we need to have a positive ESP to be confident about an earnings surprise.

As the company missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the last two quarters, the analysts are somewhat skeptical about its performance for the impending quarter. For the fourth quarter, management anticipates average paid subscribers of 1.40 million, signifying a sequential decline of 4%. However, the company expects paid subscribers to increase 13% on a year-over year basis. In addition, World Wrestling Entertainment has been implementing certain strategies, which include developing fresh content, executing customer acquisition and retention programs. (Read more: World Wrestling Entertainment Q4 Earnings: What's Up? )

Finally, let's take a sneak peek at Viacom, Inc.VIAB a leading entertainment content company, which is slated to release its first-quarter fiscal 2017 results. The company has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three out of the past four quarters, with an average earnings beat of 1.9%.

Viacom Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Viacom Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Viacom Inc. Quote

The Earnings ESP for Viacom is +2.41%, with the Most Accurate estimate of 85 cents, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 83 cents. Moreover, it carries a Zacks Rank #3. So the ensuing positive Earnings ESP, with a favorable Zacks Rank, make us reasonably confident of earnings beat.

Viacom is looking to drive its bottom line by reducing costs. We expect Viacom's fiscal first-quarter results to benefit from cost-cutting measures. The company has been making a series of managerial changes of late as part of its efforts to improve efficiencies and script a turnaround. Moreover, it has been inking multiple deals of late, in a bid to expand further. However, the company's top line was hurt by a strong U.S. dollar in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. (Read more: Viacom May Beat on Q1 Earnings: Stock to Gain? )

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


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

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