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Symantec (SYMC) Q4 Earnings: What's Ahead for the Stock?

Symantec Corp. SYMC is set to report fourth-quarter fiscal 2016 results on May 12. Last quarter, the company posted a positive earnings surprise of 22.22%. Let us see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Consider

Symantec’s third-quarter results were better-than-expected. However, year-over-year comparisons were unfavorable for both earnings and revenues. Revenues declined mainly due to the impact of unfavorable foreign exchange rates.

Symantec’s core Norton Anti-virus software business was hit hard by the persistent weakness in PC sales. Other than intensifying competition, this business has been dealt a severe blow by the increased usage of smartphones and tablets. This factor could be reflected in the to-be-reported quarter’s results as well.

Further, continued investments to launch new and innovative products could impact margins in the near term. Moreover, smaller companies like Kaspersky are consistently launching comparable products. These, along with competition from the likes of Intel and Microsoft, remain headwinds.

Nonetheless, we are encouraged by the company’s efforts on streamlining operations and maximizing shareholder value. During the fourth quarter, the company closed the sale of its Veritas business for $7.4 billion to Carlyle Group CG. We believe that the deal will provide Symantec with much needed funds to continue expanding its product portfolio and presence in the fast-growing markets.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Symantec will beat earnings 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. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: The Most Accurate estimate is pegged at 17 cents, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at 19 cents. This translates to an Earnings ESP of -4.00% for Symantec.

Zacks Rank: Symantec’s Zacks Rank #2, when combined with a negative ESP, makes surprise prediction difficult.

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

Stocks to Consider

Here are a couple of companies that are worth considering as our model shows that they have the right combination of the two key elements:

Synopsys Inc. SNPS, with an Earnings ESP of +6.38% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Asure Software, Inc. ASUR, with an Earnings ESP of +200.00% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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ASURE SOFTWARE (ASUR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SYMANTEC CORP (SYMC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SYNOPSYS INC (SNPS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CARLYLE GROUP (CG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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