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SeaWorld (SEAS): Soft Sales to Hit the Stock in Q1 Earnings?

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. SEAS is set to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 5, after the market closes.

Last quarter, it posted a negative earnings surprise of 10.00%. In fact, this Florida-based theme park and entertainment company has missed earnings in three of the last four quarters with an average negative surprise of 11.37%.

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

Factors to Consider

Seaworld’s has been experiencing a decline in total revenue per capita mostly due to lower attendance. Negative publicity associated with captive whales and prolonged scrutiny of its employee safety practices could hurt revenues in the to-be reported quarter as well. In fact, promotional offerings have not been able to slow the decline in traffic trends. Also, costs related to marketing and reputation campaigns would eat into profits in the to-be-reported quarter.

On Mar 17, the company announced that it has stopped the breeding of killer whales. Although this move will salvage its reputation among activists, it will have a negative impact on revenues, especially from international visitors.

Nevertheless, SeaWorld Entertainment is making every possible effort to regain customer confidence. The company continues to organize consumer events to drive attendance. These initiatives should offset the negatives to some extent and attract customers, thereby improving attendance. First-quarter attendance is expected to be driven by Easter and spring break holidays.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that SeaWorld Entertainment is likely to 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. That is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: The company has an Earnings ESP of -52.73%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate is pegged at a loss of 84 cents, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is a loss of 55 cents.

Zacks Rank: SeaWorld Entertainment has a Zacks Rank #3. Although this increases the predictive power of ESP, the company’s negative ESP makes a surprise prediction difficult.

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

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies in the consumer discretionary sector that investors may consider, as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Central Garden & Pet Company CENT, with an Earnings ESP of +3.39% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Cinemark Holdings, Inc. CNK, with an Earnings ESP of +2.13% and a Zacks Rank #2

Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. PNK, with an Earnings ESP of +23.21% and a Zacks Rank #3

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PINNACLE ENTRTN (PNK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CINEMARK HLDGS (CNK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CENTRAL GARDEN (CENT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SEAWORLD ENTERT (SEAS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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