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PPL Corporation (PPL) Q1 Earnings: Can the Stock Surprise?

Diversified utility, PPL Corporation PPL is scheduled to report first-quarter results on Apr 28, before the market opens. Last quarter, the company’s earnings met the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this quarter.

Factors to Consider

Favorable rate case outcomes in Pennsylvania and Kentucky are expected to accelerate earnings throughout the year and generate additional revenues of $124 million.

PPL Corporation continues to follow an organic growth strategy to expand and upgrade its utility systems in order to enhance service reliability. The company plans to spend nearly $3.5 billion in 2016 for infrastructure upgrades as part of a capital investment plan worth $16 billion for the 2016–2020 time frame. Such customer-centric strategies undertaken by the company will allow it to achieve annual earnings growth of 5–6% through 2018, off a 2014 base.

However, a milder-than-usual winter in its service territories could hurt the demand for the company’s services, thereby affecting its performance.

Surprise History

The above chart indicates that PPL Corporation generated positive earnings surprises in three of the last four quarters. The average positive surprise was 5.94%.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that PPL Corporation will beat earnings 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 this to happen. But that is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is -1.35%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at 73 cents, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged higher at 74 cents.

Zacks Rank: Though PPL Corporation’s Zacks Rank #2 increases the predictive power of ESP, its negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

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

Stocks to Consider

Here are a few operators in Utility-Electric Power space worth considering on the basis of our model, which shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Spark Energy, Inc. SPKE has an Earnings ESP of +53.57% and a Zacks Rank #1. The company is expected to report results on May 11, 2016.

Consolidated Edison, Inc. ED has an Earnings ESP of +0.83% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is expected to report results on May 5.

TECO Energy, Inc. TE has an Earnings ESP of +3.70% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is expected to report results before the market opens on May 5.

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TECO ENERGY (TE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CONSOL EDISON (ED): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PPL CORP (PPL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SPARK ENERGY (SPKE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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