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What's in Store for Honeywell (HON) This Earnings Season?

Industrial goods manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. HON is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 results before the opening bell on Apr 22. In the last reported quarter, earnings marginally missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. Notably, over the trailing four quarters, the company delivered an average positive surprise of approximately 0.69%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Key Factors in the First Quarter
In first-quarter 2016, Honeywell expects revenues in the range of $39.9 billion to $40.9 billion, reflecting year-over-year growth of 3–6%. The success of the company's HOS (Honeywell Operating System) Gold has been a major factor in driving continuous innovation, which helps it to retain a dominant position in its markets and generate sustainable growth and productivity even during a market downturn. With a flexible yet disciplined approach toward cost and productivity, Honeywell remains focused on increasing its presence in high-growth regions and accelerating growth over the remainder of its current five-year plan and beyond. Going forward, Honeywell expects to outperform its peers driven by its differentiated technology, product introductions and expansion of its global footprint.

During the first quarter, Honeywell completed the acquisition of privately held Movilizer, a cloud platform provider for field service applications. Alongside, the company also closed the acquisition of RSI Video Technologies (RSI), a provider of intrusion detection systems for commercial and residential security applications, for approximately $123 million. RSI is now part of Honeywell Security and Fire, a business unit of Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions.

Honeywell is likely to post impressive first-quarter results on the back of these strategic acquisitions. The company’s balanced mix of long and short-cycle businesses has the potential to earn consistent above-average returns and mitigate operating risks. In addition, Honeywell continues to launch products and technologies in order to drive organic growth and expand its business. The company’s diligent focus on working capital management, free cash flow generation and a conservative balance sheet is a big positive.

Though Honeywell is in a better position to navigate hardships than its peers, thanks to its proactive restructuring initiatives, it is yet to witness signs of stabilization in a number of its major end markets. A change in the U.S. government’s defense and aerospace funding could also adversely impact sales of Aerospace’s defense and space-related products and services. High research and development costs could also be a drag on the Aerospace segment’s margins and affect its profitability.

Given the company’s international presence, it often faces unfavorable foreign currency movements, affecting its top-line growth. Growing strength of the U.S. dollar is likely to have an adverse impact on the company’s first-quarter revenues. Geopolitical conflicts and disruptions may further affect its international operations in key markets. In order to fend competition, Honeywell has to continually develop and maintain competitive products by adding innovative features that differentiate its products and prevent commoditization. These increase R&D expenditure and have often resulted in margin contraction and reduced bottom-line growth.

Earnings Whispers

Despite all attempts to restructure its business, our proven model does not conclusively show that Honeywell is likely to beat earnings this quarter as it lacks the key components. 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. This 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 currently at 0.00%.

Zacks Rank: Honeywell’s Zacks Rank #2 when combined with 0.00% ESP makes an earnings beat prediction uncertain. On the other hand, the Sell-rated stocks (#4 and #5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies you may want to consider as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

AutoNation, Inc. AN has an Earnings ESP of +2.15% and a Zacks Rank #2. It is scheduled to report on Apr 22.

The Earnings ESP of Kimberly-Clark Corporation KMB is +1.33% and it has a Zacks Rank #2. The company is expected to report on Apr 22.

McDonald's Corp. MCD has an Earnings ESP of +0.86% and a Zacks Rank #2. It is expected to release results on Apr 22.

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