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Zions Q1 Earnings: Will Higher Revenues Support the Stock?

Zions Bancorporation ZION is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 25, after the market closes.

Last quarter, Zions’ earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results benefited from improved net interest income and a decline in operating expenses, partly offset by elevated provisions for loan losses and a fall in non-interest income.

Further, Zions recorded a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average positive surprise of 2.60%.

Will rising credit costs related to the exposure to energy sector hurt Zions’ financials? Or will the company be able to overcome industry challenges and maintain its earnings streak? Let’s check what our model indicates:

Our proven model shows that Zions is likely to beat earnings as it has the right combination of two key components. Note that a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or at least 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) to have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP for Zions is +5.13%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate of 41 cents is above the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at 39 cents.

Zacks Rank: Zions carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). This increases the predictive power of ESP.

Therefore, the combination of Zions’ Zacks Rank #3 and a positive ESP makes us confident of an earnings beat on Apr 25.

Factors at Play

Management projects net interest income to improve on the back of a continued loan growth, reduction in interest expenses (due to debt reductions) and benefits from the Dec 2015 rate hike. Further, non-interest income (excluding dividends and securities gains/losses) is anticipated to rise moderately.

On the expense front, Zions projects non-interest expenses to trend lower year over year driven by benefits from business simplification. Nonetheless, as the company continues to invest in the franchise, overall operating expenses should remain stable during the quarter.

However, Zions’ oil and gas-related exposure (11.7% of net loans as of Dec 31, 2015) remains a matter of concern amid a stressed energy situation. Hence, provisions related to energy loans should rise in the quarter. Management expects energy loan losses to be around $25 million during the quarter, with overall provisions to be moderately high on a sequential basis.

Also, Zions’ activities during the quarter were not adequate to win analysts’ confidence. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate remained flat at 39 cents per share over the last 7 days.

Stocks That Warrant a Look

You may want to consider a few finance stocks, as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat in the upcoming announcements.

Affiliated Managers Group Inc. AMG has an Earnings ESP of +0.68% and carries a Zacks Rank #2. It is expected to report results on Apr 26.

Federated Investors, Inc. FII has an Earnings ESP of +2.33% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company will release results on Apr 28.

Legg Mason Inc. LM has an Earnings ESP +7.69% and carries a Zacks Rank #3. It is scheduled to report on Apr 28.

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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
ZIONS BANCORP (ZION): Free Stock Analysis Report
LEGG MASON INC (LM): Free Stock Analysis Report
FEDERATED INVST (FII): Free Stock Analysis Report
AFFIL MANAGERS (AMG): Free Stock Analysis Report
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