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Why Q1 Earnings Could be Dampening for Expeditors (EXPD)

Expeditors International of Washington Inc. EXPD is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 3, before market opens.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, Expeditors reported a positive earnings surprise of 1.67%.  In fact, this transportation company boasts an impressive history with respect to earnings per share, having outshined the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the previous 4 quarters. The average earnings beat is 9.11%.

However, things may take a sour turn in the first quarter of 2016. In fact, our quantitative model does not predict an earnings beat for the company. Here’s why:

Expeditors does not have the right combination of two key ingredients – positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better – necessary for increasing the odds of an earnings surprise.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP for Expeditors is -1.82% with the Most Accurate estimate lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 55 cents by a penny.

Zacks Rank: Expeditors carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, that alone is not sufficient to secure an earnings beat.

As a caution, we advise investors not to consider sell-rated stocks (Zacks Rank #4 or 5) stocks going into an earnings announcement.

Factors Likely at Play

In the fourth quarter of 2015, revenues declined 10% from the year-ago figure. Soft air freight and ocean freight revenues hurt the top line in the fourth quarter. We expect the company to suffer from revenue weakness in the first quarter as well owing to adverse foreign currency movements.

The company also lacks business diversification, which is a major concern. Significant portions of the company’s revenues are derived from customers in industries with shipping patterns that are linked closely to consumer demand and production schedules. Consequently, weak consumer and business demand and delays in manufacturing will tend to hurt Expeditors’ top line.

However, we are encouraged by the company’s efforts to reward shareholders through dividend payments. We expect an update on the issue during the first-quarter conference call.

Stocks to Consider

With Expeditors likely to disappoint, we present some other transportation companies for you to consider as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.

Copa Holdings CPA, with an earnings ESP of +8.70% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings on May 5.

Frontline Ltd. FRO, with an earnings ESP of +11.54% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is expected to report first-quarter results on Jun 3.

Air Lease Corporation AL, with an earnings ESP of +14.10% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to report first-quarter results on May 5.

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COPA HLDGS SA-A (CPA): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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EXPEDITORS INTL (EXPD): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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