Stocks opened slightly higher on Wednesday as investors begin to reap some rewards from the start of first-quarter earnings season. Despite this recent market momentum, uncertainty is still present, which means investors need to continue to utilize Q1 earnings season in order to look for stocks set to top earnings estimates.
First quarter earnings season has already helped some stocks kick back into high gear, including streaming giant Netflix (NFLX – Free Report). But just because the overall market has performed relatively well over the last week, doesn’t mean that earnings season will be a net positive for every stock. In fact, a slow quarter or a big earnings miss could lead to even further declines.
Luckily, Zacks Premium customers can utilize the Earnings ESP Screener in order to search for stocks that are expected to surprise.
This is done because, generally speaking, when an analyst posts an estimate right before an earnings release, it means that they have fresh information which could potentially be more accurate than what analysts thought about a company two or three months ago.
A positive Earnings ESP paired with a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better ranking helps us feel confident about the potential for an earnings beat. In fact, our 10-year backtest has revealed that this methodology has accurately produced a positive surprise 70% of the time.
Let’s take a look at three stocks that look ready to beat first-quarter earnings estimates.
1. Capital One (COF – Free Report)
Shares of Capital One are down just 1.2% over the last month, which shows that it has been a bit more resistant to the nearly market-wide downturn than many other stocks. The credit card company is projected to see its quarterly revenues climb by 6.4% to hit $6.96 billion, based on our current Zacks Consensus Estimates. Meanwhile, Capital One’s Q1 earnings are expected to surge by 32% to $2.31 per share.
Better still, Capital One is currently a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and sports an Earnings ESP of 0.79%. The company’s Most Accurate Estimate—the representation of the most recent analyst sentiment—calls for earnings of $2.33 per share, which comes in 2 cents above our current consensus estimate. This means that Capital One is a stock that could top earnings estimates when it reports its first quarter financial results after market close on Tuesday, April 24.