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Willis Towers (WLTW) Q1 Earnings: Stock to Disappoint?

Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company WLTW is set to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 6, before the market opens. Last quarter, the company posted a negative surprise of 22.70%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to be Considered this Quarter

Willis Towers has likely witnessed a decline in investment income owing to lower average interest rates. Adverse forex is expected to have weighed on both the top and bottom line.

Moreover, the company’s operating expenses are expected to have increased in the to-be-reported quarter, primarily due to a rise in incentive-based compensation. Nonetheless, costs savings initiatives and costs synergies from the merger have likely aided in margin expansion.

Notably, this is the first quarter in which the company will report its earnings after the merger of Willis Group and Towers Watson. The combination of two heavy weights is likely to boost operational results in the to-be-reported quarter. Strategic acquisitions are also expected to have added to the top line.

With respect to the surprise trend, the company delivered a positive surprise in one of the last four quarters with a negative beat of 11.03%.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Willis Towers is likely to beat on earnings this quarter. This 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: Willis Towers has an Earnings ESP of -4.29%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate is pegged at $2.68, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at $2.80.

Zacks Rank: Willis Towers carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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

Currently, the stock is trading at $126.27. We expect the release to lead to stock movement.

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies from the finance sector that you may want to consider as these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Fidus Investment Corporation FDUS has an Earnings ESP of +2.44% and a Zacks Rank #2. The company is set to report first-quarter earnings on May 5.

Hudson Pacific Properties, Inc. HPP has an Earnings ESP of +2.44% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is slated to report first-quarter earnings on May 5.

Hercules Capital, Inc. HTGC has an Earnings ESP of +7.14% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is set to report first-quarter earnings on May 5.

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FIDUS INVESTMNT (FDUS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
WILLIS TWRS WAT (WLTW): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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