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Can FMC Technologies (FTI) Q1 Earnings Surprise?

Oil drilling equipment maker FMC Technologies Inc. FTI is set to release its first-quarter 2016 results after the closing bell on Tuesday, Apr 26.

In the preceding three-month period, the Houston, TX-based firm delivered a negative surprise of 8.00%. The underperformance stemmed from weakness in the North American land market, stronger U.S. dollar and poor revenue generation by the Subsea Technologies segment.

Coming to earnings surprise history, the company has a mixed record: its beaten estimates in 2 of the last four quarters.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Consider This Quarter

FMC Technologies is particularly well positioned in the subsea systems market. It is the company’s largest and fastest-growing business, accounting for about two-thirds of revenue. Subsea products have seen an increase in interest, and we expect margins in this segment to strengthen – especially due to FMC Technologies’ leadership position in subsea production systems, including subsea trees, controls and manifold and tie-in systems.

In fact, despite the declining activity levels, the company was able to increase its ‘Subsea Technologies’ margins in 2015 – the fourth year in a row. This speaks to FMC Technologies’ solid execution, innovative technology and integrated business model.

However, as crude remains in a bearish territory, top energy companies have resorted to spending cuts (particularly on the costly upstream projects) owing to lower profit margins. This, in turn, means less work for equipment suppliers like FMC Technologies and is likely to translate into declining income in the to-be-reported quarter.

Moreover, sales from “Energy Infrastructure’ are expected to be down in the near-term due to the weak North American market.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that FMC Technologies will beat estimates this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESPand a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) to be able to beat consensus estimates. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is -3.23%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at 30 cents, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged higher, at 31 cents.

Zacks Rank: FMC Technologies has a Zacks Rank #3. Though a Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of ESP, a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

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

Stocks to Consider

While earnings beat looks uncertain for FMC Technologies, here are some firms you may want to consider on the basis of our model, which shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Phillips 66 Partners L.P. PSXP has an Earnings ESP of +3.7% and a Zacks Rank #2. The partnership is expected to release earnings results on Apr 29.

TOTAL S.A. TOT has an Earnings ESP of +9.76% and a Zacks Rank #2. The company is anticipated to release earnings on Apr 27.

Hess Corp. HES has an Earnings ESP of +5.00% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is likely to release earnings on Apr 27.

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FMC TECH INC (FTI): Free Stock Analysis Report
TOTAL FINA SA (TOT): Free Stock Analysis Report
HESS CORP (HES): Free Stock Analysis Report
PHILLIPS 66 PTR (PSXP): Free Stock Analysis Report
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