Quarterly financial reports play a vital role on Wall Street, as they help investors see how a company has performed and what might be coming down the road in the near-term. And out of all of the metrics and results to consider, earnings is one of the most important.
Life and the stock market are both about expectations, and rising above what is expected is often rewarded, while falling short can come with negative consequences. Investors might want to try to capture stronger returns by finding positive 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.
Bringing together a positive earnings ESP alongside a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better has helped stocks report a positive earnings surprise 70% of the time. Furthermore, by using these parameters, investors have seen 28.3% 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 Intuit?
The final step today is to look at a stock that meets our ESP qualifications. Intuit (INTU) earns a #3 (Hold) four days from its next quarterly earnings release on November 29, 2022, and its Most Accurate Estimate comes in at $1.21 a share.
Intuit’s Earnings ESP sits at +3.15%, which, as explained above, is calculated by taking the percentage difference between the $1.21 Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.17. INTU is also part of a large group of stocks that boast a positive ESP. Make sure to utilize our Earnings ESP Filter to uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’ve reported.
INTU is one of just a large database of Computer and Technology stocks with positive ESPs. Another solid-looking stock is Paylocity (PCTY).
Paylocity, which is readying to report earnings on February 2, 2023, sits at a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) right now. It’s Most Accurate Estimate is currently $0.70 a share, and PCTY is 69 days out from its next earnings report.
Paylocity’s Earnings ESP figure currently stands at +0.23% after taking the percentage difference between its Most Accurate Estimate and its Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.70.
INTU and PCTY’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 >>
Zacks Names “Single Best Pick to Double”
From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all.
It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time.
This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.