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Baker Hughes (BHI): What's in Store This Earnings Season?

Leading oilfield services company, Baker Hughes Inc. BHI is set to report first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 25, before the opening bell.

In the last reported quarter, the company digested loss from continuing operations of 21 cents a share, which was wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 10 cents loss. The bottom line had, however, deteriorated from the year-ago adjusted profit level of $1.44 a share. The results were hurt by the steep fall in oil price which limited demand for rigs.

Will Baker Hughes impress with its upcoming release after combating some serious challenges in the three-month period ended Mar 31? The company outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate in two of the last four quarters.

Let’s see what factors might have influenced the earnings report this time around.

Past-Quarter Flashback

During the first quarter, the Houston-based oilfield services company reported a persistent fall in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs searching for oil and gas). This can be primarily attributed to an unrelenting fall in crude prices. WTI and Brent witnessed similar declines resulting from an oversupplied market. The strength of the dollar against other currencies also made oil dearer for importers and thus contributed to the slump.

It is common knowledge that the overall operation in this space is positively correlated with oil price. This is because, the lower the price of the commodity, the lesser will be the incentives for the upstream players to explore and drill more wells and hence weaker will be the demand for oil field services firms.

However, to offset this, management has been proactive in cost reduction and working capital management. Management was also strategically targeting revenue opportunities in the quarter under discussion, to continue increasing profitability, generate positive cash flow and maintain a strong balance sheet.

Overall, Baker Hughes’ activities during the quarter proved inadequate to win analysts’ confidence. So the Zacks Consensus Estimate deteriorated to a loss of 32 cents from a loss of 14 cents per share over the last 90 days.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively shows that Baker Hughes is set to surprise this quarter. That 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 a likely beat. That is the case here as you will see below.
Zacks ESP: Baker Hughes has an ESP of -3.13% for first-quarter 2016. This is because the Most Accurate estimate of 33 cents loss is wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 32 cents loss per share.

Zacks Rank: Baker Hughes currently carries a Zacks Rank #3. Though a favorable Zacks Rank increases the predictive power of ESP, a 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 in the energy sector that investors may consider, as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements to beat estimates this quarter:

SunCoke Energy Inc. SXC with an Earnings ESP of +150.00% and a Zacks Rank #1. The company is likely to release earnings on Apr 27.

Phillips 66 Partners L.P. PSXP has an Earnings ESP of +1.85% 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 #3. The company is anticipated to release earnings on Apr 27.

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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
BAKER-HUGHES (BHI): Free Stock Analysis Report
TOTAL FINA SA (TOT): Free Stock Analysis Report
SUNCOKE ENERGY (SXC): Free Stock Analysis Report
PHILLIPS 66 PTR (PSXP): Free Stock Analysis Report
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