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US Cellular (USM) Q1 Earnings: Can the Stock to Surprise?

United States Cellular Corporation USM is slated to release its first-quarter 2016 results on May 6, before the market opens.

Last quarter, U.S. Cellular delivered a positive earnings surprise of 95.35%. Moreover, the company’s bottom line has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all of the past four quarters, with an average beat of a massive 1844.67%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors Likely to Influence this Quarter

U.S. Cellular ­ – the wireless subsidiary of Telephone & Data Systems­ Inc. TDS – is currently experiencing strong smartphone demand. Of the total smartphone sales, nearly 94% are 4G devices. Higher ARPU from smartphone users and full utilization of LTE network capacity on the back of migration of customers from 3G to 4G networks are expected to mitigate operating cost headwinds arising from higher subsidies on smartphones.

U.S. Cellular initiated the testing of voice over LTE or VoLTE, and is planning its commercial deployment going forward. Further, in order to offer services at competitive rates, U.S. Cellular continues to invest in the construction of new cell sites, capacity expansion of cell sites and switches, technology upgrades, new and existing office system enhancement, as well as the establishment of new and remodeling of existing retail stores.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that U.S. Cellular is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. Unfortunately, that is not the case here as elaborated below.

Zacks ESP: U.S. Cellular has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. This is because both the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the Most Accurate estimate are pegged at 23 cents.

Zacks Rank: U.S. Cellular has a Zacks Rank #3 which increases the predictive power of ESP.  However, we need to have a positive ESP to be confident of an earnings surprise.

Stocks to Consider

Here is a company you may want to consider as our model shows it has the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Agilent Technologies, Inc. A has an Earnings ESP of +2.56% and a Zacks Rank #2.

ACI Worldwide, Inc. ACIW has an Earnings ESP of +12.5% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
TELEPHONE &DATA (TDS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ACI WORLDWIDE (ACIW): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
US CELLULAR (USM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AGILENT TECH (A): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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