Zacks
0
All posts from Zacks
Zacks in Our Research. Your Success.,

Apache (APA): What's in the Cards this Earnings Season?

U.S. energy firm Apache Corp. APA is set to release first-quarter 2016 results before the opening bell on Thursday, May 5.

Last quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 88.46%. We note that Apache reported an average positive surprise of 96.09% in the preceding four quarters. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.  



Factors to Consider This Quarter  

Apache has a large, geographically diversified reserve base and a multi-year trend in reserve replacement and production growth.

However, a decline in volume level is a major concern for Apache, as evident from last year’s statistics. The output of oil and natural gas averaged 535,094 oil-equivalent barrels per day in 2015, down approximately 9.4% year over year. We expect the declining trend to continue in the to-be-reported quarter as well.

As it is, Apache’s results are directly exposed to oil and gas prices, which are inherently volatile and subject to complex market forces. During the January–March period, crude traded below $40 per barrel. Most importantly, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell to the 12-year low mark in mid February. On top of that, natural gas did not fare well as reflected by gas pricing fundamentals that were weaker than the prior-year quarter. Hence the pricing scenario is not in favor of the upstream player and might impact its earnings this quarter.

What Our Model Indicates

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Apache is likely to beat estimates 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) to pull off a beat. That is not the case here as you will see below.  

Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is 0.00% since both are pegged at a loss of 92 cents.

Zacks Rank: Apache has a Zacks Rank #3 which increases the predictive power of ESP. But we need a positive ESP to be confident of a beat.

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

Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are some companies in the energy sector with the right combination of ingredients to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Hercules Offshore, Inc. HERO has an Earnings ESP of +15.24% and a Zacks Rank #3.

DCP Midstream Partners LP DPM with an Earnings ESP of +9.52% and a Zacks Rank #2.

NGL Energy Partners LP NGL with an Earnings ESP of +1.96% and a Zacks Rank #2.     

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 >>


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
 
HERCULES OFFSHR (HERO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DCP MIDSTREAM (DPM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
APACHE CORP (APA): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NGL ENERGY PART (NGL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research