Forecast came true

10 companies whose earnings estimates are rising
6 february 2015

Southwest Airlines and nine others are bucking a bad trend

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The consensus 2016 earnings estimate for Southwest Airlines has increased 17% since the end of last year, reflecting not only the decline in fuel prices, but also the company’s growth and increased efficiency in filling more seats per flight.

Most companies in the S&P 500 Index have had their 2016 earnings estimates cut by analysts since the beginning of the year as the dollar has strengthened and the price of crude oil has declined.

But some companies’ estimates have been raised by analysts, which can only be good news for their stocks.

As we discussed in 10 companies whose earnings estimates were chopped by analysts, forward earnings estimates — those for the following year rather than the current year — tend to have a major effect on stock prices. So far this year, 333 of the S&P 500 SPX, +1.03% companies have had their consensus 2016 EPS estimates lowered.

The price of crude oil CLH5, +1.90% has declined 52% since a peak in June, dragging down energy companies. The rising dollar and falling euro are taking their toll on exporters, whose goods have gotten more expensive as a result. And the related drop in long-term interest rates is hurting banks by squeezing the amount they earn on loans and the like. The KBW Bank Index BKX, +1.35% is down 6% this year, while the S&P 500 is down only slightly.

Here are the 10 S&P 500 stocks with the biggest increases to consensus 2016 earnings estimates since the beginning of 2015:

CompanyTickerIndustry2016 EPS estimate - Current2016 EPS estimate - Dec. 31Increase in 2016 EPS estimate
Southwest Airlines Co.LUV,-0.02%Airlines$3.70$3.1717%
Delta Air Lines Inc.DAL,+0.02%Airlines$5.76$5.1213%
Target Corp.TGT,+0.30%Discount Stores$4.87$4.4111%
Alcoa Inc.AA,-0.12%Aluminum$1.35$1.258%
Electronic Arts Inc.EA,+3.36%Recreational Products$2.96$2.777%
Apple Inc.AAPL,-0.04%Telecommunications Equipment$9.04$8.516%
Lam Research Corp.LRCX,+0.76%Electronic Production Equipment$5.72$5.406%
Quest Diagnostics Inc.DGX,-0.41%Health Industry Services$5.09$4.826%
ADT Corp.ADT,-1.43%Commercial Services$2.21$2.115%
CF Industries Holdings Inc.CF,+0.86%Agricultural Chemicals$26.70$25.535%
Source: FactSet

Philip van Doorn

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