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Will Low Oil Prices Hurt National Oilwell (NOV) Q1 Earnings?

Houston, TX-based energy equipment manufacturer National Oilwell Varco Inc. NOV is set to release first-quarter 2016 financial results before the opening bell on Apr 28.

Last quarter, the company delivered a negative earnings surprise of 9.09%. However, National Oilwell posted an average positive earnings surprise of 16.24% over the last four quarters. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.    

Factors Likely to Influence This Quarter

National Oilwell boasts a strong balance sheet with a debt to capitalization ratio of about 19.3%. The company’s financial strength and sound backlog makes it better suited than most of its peers to withstand this oil slump.

However, being an oilfield machinery and equipment manufacturer, National Oilwell’s business is positively correlated with crude price. The oil pricing environment was extremely weak during the entire first quarter. Top energy companies were seen cutting capex to deal with the situation. This in turn is expected to result in less work for the likes of National Oilwell.

We found a reflection of this in the company’s announcement earlier this month, that its first-quarter revenues will likely witness a 20% sequential decline and a 55% year-over-year fall. On top of that, National Oilwell’s announcement that it will slash its quarterly dividend is also a reflection of weak first-quarter performance.  

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that National Oilwell is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESPand a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. Unfortunately, this is not the case here as elaborated below.

Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is -9.09%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate for National Oilwell stands at a loss of 12 cents while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged narrower at a loss of 11 cents.

Zacks Rank: National Oilwell carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Though a favorable Zacks Rank increases the predictive power of ESP, the company’s negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

We caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell rated) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies from the energy space that, according to our model, have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

McDermott International Inc. MDR with an Earnings ESP of +100.00% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation CHK with an Earnings ESP of +9.09% and a Zacks Rank #2.  

Seadrill Partners LLC SDLP has an Earnings ESP of +3.03% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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NATL OILWELL VR (NOV): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MCDERMOTT INTL (MDR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CHESAPEAKE ENGY (CHK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SEADRILL PTNRS (SDLP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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