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Southwestern Energy (SWN): Q1 Earnings Preview

We expect leading oil and gas drilling contractor Southwestern Energy Company SWN to beat expectations when it reports first-quarter 2016 results after the closing bell on Thursday, Apr 21, 2016.

Last quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 50%. Also, the company outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters.

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



Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that Southwestern Energy is likely to beat estimates because it has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Positive Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is +4.55%. The Most Accurate estimate is of a loss of 21 cents, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at a loss of 22 cents.

Zacks Rank: Southwestern Energy carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which when combined with a positive EarningsESP, makes us confident about an earnings beat.

Note that stocks with Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings. The Sell-rated stocks (Zacks Rank #4 and 5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement. 

What is Driving the Better-Than-Expected Earnings?

Houston, TX-based Southwestern Energy is one of the leading independent energy companies in the world. The company is engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and crude oil in the United States.

To counter the weakness in natural gas prices, which traded mostly around $2 per MMBtu in the January to March period and occasionally slid below $1.7 per MMBtu, Southwestern Energy has been reducing its activities to reduce capital expenses and to maintain a strong liquidity position. Apart from cost-containment efforts the company has been trying to operate efficiently by focusing on its core assets and in turn increase its production volumes. These should have a favorable impact in the upcoming earnings.

Additionally, Southwestern Energy has a diversified reserve base in multiple U.S. basins and remains focused on investments in high-return areas such as Fayetteville, Appalachia and New Ventures. Moreover, the company maintains a competitive cost structure, which should contribute to steady growth and returns throughout the business cycle.

Stocks to Consider

Some stocks from the energy sector that have both a positive Earnings ESP and a favorable Zacks Rank include:

NextEra Energy Partners, LP NEP with an Earnings ESP of +34.21% and a Zacks Rank #1.

SunCoke Energy Inc. SXC with an Earnings ESP of +150% and a Zacks Rank #1.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation CHK with an Earnings ESP of +25% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. blog">Click to get this free report >>

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
SOUTHWESTRN ENE (SWN): Free Stock Analysis Report
CHESAPEAKE ENGY (CHK): Free Stock Analysis Report
NEXTERA ENERGY (NEP): Free Stock Analysis Report
SUNCOKE ENERGY (SXC): Free Stock Analysis Report
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