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BB&T (BBT) Q1 Earnings: Will a Beat Drive the Stock Up?

BB&T Corporation BBT is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 results on Thursday Apr 21, before the market opens.

Last quarter, BB&T’s earnings lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate due to higher expenses and provision for loan losses. However, a rise in revenues, supported by the Susquehanna acquisition along with an impressive growth in average loan and deposits, acted as tailwind.

So, will higher costs and rising provisions hurt the bottom line yet again? Or can BB&T reverse the trend this earnings season driven by improved top line?

Let us see what our model indicates:

Our proven model shows that BB&T is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate this time around as it has the right combination of two key components. Note that a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or at least #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold) for have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP for BB&T is +1.56%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate of 65 cents per share is above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 64 cents.

Zacks Rank: BB&T’s Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of ESP.

Therefore, the combination of BB&T’s Zacks Rank #3 and a positive ESP makes us confident of an earnings beat on Apr 21.

Factors at Play

BB&T expects GAAP as well as core net interest margin to increase this quarter compared with the third quarter 2015, provided there is no further improvement in the rate environment. The rise will also be driven by an increased yield on earnings assets, the company’s ability to keep deposit rates low and reduced balances maintained with the Federal Reserve.

Further, management anticipates a rise in insurance income (up 10%) and investment banking revenue to drive a modest improvement in fee income during the quarter compared with the third-quarter 2015 level. However, fall in mortgage income and reduced service charges on deposits are expected to partly offset the rise.

On the cost front, BB&T projects non-interest expenses (excluding loss on debt restructuring and mergers) to remain stable on a sequential basis in the first quarter, as costs related to employee benefits will be offset by lower merger-related expenses.

Further, management anticipates cost synergies from the acquisitions closed during 2015. This in turn will lead to an improvement in the efficiency ratio.

Management also expects loan growth in the quarter to be seasonally slow and grow 1% on a sequential basis. While C&I loan portfolio is likely to record modest improvement (excluding acquisitions), C&D portfolio will witness soft growth.

Moreover, seasonal factors will partly offset direct retail lending portfolio growth in the first quarter. Also, growth in sales finance portfolio is predicted to decline; while residential portfolio will likely see further contraction during the quarter.

Talking about credit quality, net charge-offs are projected to remain within 0.35–0.45% in first quarter 2016, reflecting retail seasonality, while non-performing asset levels will increase slightly. Also, BB&T expects to record an additional loan loss provision of $30–$40 million in the quarter due to 7–8% increase in energy reserves.  Also, management expects provisions to grow in line with charge-offs as well as acquisition-driven new loan growth.

Nonetheless, BB&T faced downward estimate revisions over the last couple of months. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has fallen 3% over the past 30 days to 64 cents.

Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are a few other finance stocks that you may want to consider, as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat in the upcoming announcements.

People's United Financial Inc. PBCT has an Earnings ESP of +4.76% and carries a Zacks Rank #3. It is scheduled to report results on Apr 21.

Affiliated Managers Group Inc. AMG has an Earnings ESP of +0.68% and a Zacks Rank #2. The company is expected to report results on Apr 26.

State Street Corporation STT has an Earnings ESP of +1.15% and a Zacks Rank #3. It is scheduled to report 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
BB&T CORP (BBT): Free Stock Analysis Report
STATE ST CORP (STT): Free Stock Analysis Report
AFFIL MANAGERS (AMG): Free Stock Analysis Report
PEOPLES UTD FIN (PBCT): Free Stock Analysis Report
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