Want Better Returns? Don?t Ignore These 2 Business Services Stocks Set to Beat Earnings

Earnings are arguably the most important single number on a company's quarterly financial report. Wall Street clearly dives into all of the other metrics and management's input, but the EPS figure helps cut through all the noise.

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.

When we join a positive earnings ESP with a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or stronger, stocks posted a positive bottom-line surprise 70% of the time. Plus, this system saw investors produce roughly 28% 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 Automatic Data Processing?

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. Automatic Data Processing (ADP) earns a #2 (Buy) right now and its Most Accurate Estimate sits at $2.81 a share, just 21 days from its upcoming earnings release on May 1, 2024.

By taking the percentage difference between the $2.81 Most Accurate Estimate and the $2.76 Zacks Consensus Estimate, Automatic Data Processing has an Earnings ESP of +1.72%. Investors should also know that ADP 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.

ADP is one of just a large database of Business Services stocks with positive ESPs. Another solid-looking stock is S&P Global (SPGI).

S&P Global is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, and is getting ready to report earnings on April 25, 2024. SPGI's Most Accurate Estimate sits at $3.73 a share 15 days from its next earnings release.

For S&P Global, the percentage difference between its Most Accurate Estimate and its Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.46 is +7.66%.

ADP and SPGI's positive ESP metrics may signal that a positive earnings surprise for both stocks is on the horizon.

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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Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) : Free Stock Analysis Report

S&P Global Inc. (SPGI) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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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.

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