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Will High Provisions Hurt Ally Financial (ALLY) Q1 Earnings?

Ally Financial Inc. ALLY is slated to announce first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 26, before the opening bell.

Last quarter, the company’s adjusted earnings outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results were driven by a rise in revenues and lower controllable expenses, partially offset by higher provisions.

Ally Financial surpassed earnings estimates in three out of the trailing four quarters with an average positive surprise of 7.58%.

Will Ally Financial be able to report an earnings beat this quarter? Or will it disappoint? Let us see how things have shaped up for this announcement.

What to Expect?

Ally Financial has been witnessing a persistent rise in provision for loan losses. Over the last 5 years, provisions have increased at a CAGR of 44.8% (2011–2015) with the same expected to continue in this quarter. Provisions are projected to increase primarily due to higher loan balances.

Further, total charge-offs on the retail auto loan portfolio are projected to witness a moderate increase due to mix optimization. However, the impact of the same is expected to be mitigated by improved yields.

Moving on to expenses, Ally Financial has been able to keep a check on its expenses, aided by streamlining activities. However, new products launches and initiatives may make incremental savings difficult going forward. The company’s plan to re-enter the mortgage business, partnership with Beepi to finance used cars and other similar efforts are likely to result in higher expenses in the upcoming release.

Primarily dealing in auto loans, the performance of Ally Financial is mainly dependent on the overall health of the auto industry. The Fed’s decision to delay interest rate hikes should extend the current sales cycle, which will help the auto industry to continue to lead the overall U.S. economic recovery.

Ally Financial is expected to witness an improvement in Automotive Finance and Insurance divisions’ revenues in the quarter driven by a consistent rise in auto sales.

Moreover, management expects retail loan yield to rise to some extent in the quarter due to a balanced credit mix. However, this could be offset by a continued decline of around $1 billion per quarter in the company’s higher yielding lease portfolio.

Nonetheless, the company anticipates net interest margin to stabilize in 2016, given its limited unsecured debt maturities during the year and the recent rise in LIBOR. The impact of the same will be mirrored in the to-be-reported quarter as well.

Further, new technologies are expected to enhance the company’s deposit platform, thereby boosting deposit growth.

Notably, Ally Financial’s quarterly activities were not sufficient to win analysts’ confidence. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter remained unchanged at 55 cents per share over the last 7 days.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Ally Financial is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the first quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or at least 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. Unfortunately, this is not the case here, as elaborated below.

Zacks ESP:  The Earnings ESP for Ally Financial is -1.82%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate of 54 cents per share is below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 55 cents.

Zacks Rank: Ally Financial’s Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of ESP. However, we also need to have a positive ESP to be confident of an earnings surprise call.

Stocks to Consider

Here are a few finance stocks that you may want to consider as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Legg Mason Inc. LM has an Earnings ESP of +7.69% and a Zacks Rank #3. It is scheduled to report results on Apr 29.

The Earnings ESP for Federated Investors, Inc. FII is +2.33% and it has a Zacks Rank #3. The company is slated to report on Apr 28.

Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. WDR has an Earnings ESP of +1.82% and a Zacks Rank #3. It is expected to report on Apr 26.

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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
ALLY FINANCIAL (ALLY): Free Stock Analysis Report
WADDELL&REED -A (WDR): Free Stock Analysis Report
LEGG MASON INC (LM): Free Stock Analysis Report
FEDERATED INVST (FII): Free Stock Analysis Report
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