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Will Noble Corporation (NE) Beat Q1 Earnings Estimates?

Noble Corporation plcNE is expected to report first-quarter 2016 earnings on Apr 27, 2016, after the market closes.

The company has a mixed earnings history. Noble beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three and missed the same in one of the trailing four quarters. In the last reported quarter, the company delivered a negative earnings surprise of 13.33%.

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

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model shows that Noble is likely to beat earnings because it has the perfect combination of two key ingredients.

Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is +2.94%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at 35 cents, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged lower at 34 cents. This is a meaningful and leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise.

Zacks Rank: Noble carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which when combined with positiveEarnings ESP, makes us confident about an earnings beat.

Note that stocks with a 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?

Noble is a leading offshore drilling firm with a robust portfolio of assets. Though the industry has witnessed a setback over the past several months, the company is likely to have been less affected by the situation than its peers due to its strong backlog position ($6.9 billion).

As of Dec 31, 2015, the company had 68% of its available rig operating days committed for 2016. This included 57% of floating rig days and 81% of jackup rig days. For 2017, an estimated 67% of available rig operating days have been committed – 58% floating rig days and 76% jackup rig days. These secured commitments cushion the company from the volatile pricing market and should have a favorable impact on the first-quarter earnings.

Noble reduced its asset base by completing the Paragon Offshore spin-off and the subsequent transfer of 43 rigs to the new entity. Notably, this has made the company more competitive and should help it to deliver better returns in the future.

Additionally, Noble has been making continuous efforts to upgrade its fleet through acquisitions and newbuild projects. The company has also shown strong operational execution and cost-management efforts, which should reflect positively in the upcoming earnings.

Other Stocks to Consider

Here are some other companies to consider as our model shows that these too have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.

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

Chesapeake Energy Corporation CHK has Earnings ESP of +9.09% and a Zacks Rank #2. The partnership is anticipated to release earnings on May 5.

Cobalt International Energy, Inc. CIE has Earnings ESP of +9.09% and a Zacks Rank #2. The company is likely to release earnings on May 3.

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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
NOBLE CORP PLC (NE): Free Stock Analysis Report
CHESAPEAKE ENGY (CHK): Free Stock Analysis Report
COBALT INTL EGY (CIE): Free Stock Analysis Report
SUNCOKE ENERGY (SXC): Free Stock Analysis Report
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