NiSource Inc. ( NI ) will release its first quarter 2014 financial results before the opening bell on Apr 30, 2014. The company posted a positive earnings surprise of 2.17% in the preceding quarter. NiSource currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.
Factors to Consider This Quarter
Positive economic fundamentals in Northern Indiana service territories are expected to boost NiSource's electric sales in the first quarter of 2014. In addition, the current shale boom in the U.S. will likely act as a catalyst to the company's pipeline business.
The initial start-up of the Hickory Bend gathering and processing facilities in Dec 2013 will allow increased accessibility to the Marcellus and Utica productions.
However, risks of accidents like the recent Columbia pipeline explosion could pose challenges to the company's operative capability. Moreover, exposure to volatile oil and gas prices might impact NiSource's top-line results.
Our proven model does not conclusively show that NiSource is likely to beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) and a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. This is not the case here.
Zacks ESP: The Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at 78 cents, resulting in an ESP of 0.00%.
Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): NiSource's Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) when combined with a 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult. Meanwhile, we caution against stocks with Zacks Ranks #4 and #5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement.
Other Stocks to Consider
Here are some utility companies having the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.
Ameren Corp. ( AEE ) has an earnings ESP of +6.25% and carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Exelon Corp. ( EXC ) has an earnings ESP of +6.94% and carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
PPL Corp. ( PPL ) has an earnings ESP of +4.41% and carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).