After five consecutive dismal quarters, this earnings season so far has portrayed an improvement with 116 S&P members having released their results already. Over 800 companies will be reporting their numbers, including 171 S&P 500 members from various major sectors by Oct 28.
Per the latest Earnings Preview report, of the 116 companies that have reported so far, 80.2% topped bottom-line estimates and 62.9% came ahead of top-line expectations. According to the report, earnings for the 116 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far are up 3.3% from the same period last year, while revenues have increased 1.8%. The report projects that Q3 earnings of all the S&P 500 companies combined will move up 0.1% from the year-ago period, whereas revenue will rise 1.5%.
Seven out of 16 Zacks sectors are expected to witness a decline in earnings in the third quarter, with Oil/Energy, Autos and Transportation being the biggest drag. However, the Retail/Wholesale sector is seeing improvement in spite of overseas turmoil, fluctuating commodity prices and Fed rate-related controversies.
The Paper Stocks belonging to the Business Services sector are looking reasonably good. For the sector, earnings are expected to grow 7.7%, while sales are touted to rise 8.7% over the last year. The projected improvement is majorly driven by the growing momentum in the economy as a whole and the job market during the quarter.
Let's have a sneak peek at three major industry players scheduled to release their third-quarter 2016 numbers tomorrow.
International Paper CompanyIP is scheduled to report results before the opening bell. In the last reported quarter, the company's adjusted earnings comfortably exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8 cents. In the trailing four quarters, the company beat earnings estimates on every occasion with an average positive earnings surprise of 8.93%.
The company expects volume to be mostly stable across its various businesses, with the exception of EMEA packaging which is likely to be lower due to normal seasonality in Morocco. During the to-be-reported quarter, price is expected to be lower in North American industrial packaging owing to the flow-through effect of the January PPW Index change. This will negatively impact earnings by approximately $10 million.
Earnings are also expected to be impacted by a less favorable mix in the pulp business, as majority of the quantity will be derived off the new capacity at Riegelwood. All other pricing is expected to remain stable.
Our proven model does not conclusively shows that International Paper is likely to beat earnings this quarter as it lacks some key components. A stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold) for an earnings beat. Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate is currently pegged at -3.23%. International Paper's Zacks Rank #2 when combined with negative ESP makes an earnings beat uncertain this quarter. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .
Please check our Earnings ESP Filter that enables you find stocks that are expected to come out with earnings surprises.
INTL PAPER Price and EPS Surprise
Domtar CorporationUFS is scheduled to report its results after market closes tomorrow. Domtar manufactures and distributes a wide array of fiber-based products including communication papers, specialty and packaging papers and adult incontinence products. Domtar also owns and operates an extensive network of strategically located paper and printing supplies distribution facilities. The company is the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America with established brands such as Cougar, Lynx Opaque Ultra, Husky Opaque Offset, First Choice and Domtar EarthChoice.
Domtar is currently seeking growth through profitable investment opportunities with a commitment to pollution-free environment and sustainable practices. The company is also streamlining the cost structure, improving revenue quality and maintaining a healthy cash flow with a disciplined approach to cash utilization. All these factors offer a solid investment proposition for the company.
During the second quarter, Domtar had acquired the assets of Butterfly Health Inc. for an undisclosed amount. The strategic acquisition is likely to positively impact the company's top-line in the to-be-reported quarter.
Domtar has an Earnings ESP of +1.08%, which when combined with its Zacks Rank #3, makes earnings beat likely this quarter. Over the trailing four quarters, the company has beat estimates on all occasions, with an average positive surprise of 85.28%.
DOMTAR CORP Price and EPS Surprise
Mercer International Inc.MERC owns and operates a diverse pulp and paper business in the southern German states of Saxony and Thuringia. The company operates its pulp business primarily through its subsidiaries, Spezialpapierfabrik Blankenstein GmbH and Zellstof-und Papierfabrik Rosenthal GmbH & Co. KG, as well as conducts its paper business through another subsidiary, Dresden Papier GmbH.
For the quarter to be reported, this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) stock has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%, thus making an earnings prediction uncertain. Over the trailing four quarters, the company has missed estimates on three occasions, with an average negative surprise of 66.06%.
MERCER INTL SBI Price and EPS Surprise
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