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What's in the Cards for Zillow Group (ZG) in Q1 Earnings?

Zillow Group, Inc. ZG is set to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 3. Last quarter, the company posted a positive earnings surprise of 7.1%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors at Play

Zillow offers mobile and web solutions that enable users to find important information about homes. The company reported modest fourth quarter results. Although the company posted a loss during the quarter, its revenues witnessed tremendous year-over-year growth.

We believe that strong traffic growth, frequent product launches and the growing Agent business are positives. In particular, product launches like Zillow Real Estate and Zillow Digs App for Apple Inc.'s AAPL iPhone and iPad are expected drive growth.

Moreover, the Trulia acquisition will not only make Zillow the number one online real estate information provider in the U.S., but also help it to compete against Move Inc., which has now been acquired by News Corp.

Apart from acquisitions, Zillow entered into several partnerships with real estate listing companies and real estate brokers to enhance its product portfolio. However, the company is currently in the high investment phase and therefore profitability might be an issue in the near term.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Zillow is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in its upcoming release. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. Unfortunately, this is not the case here as elaborated below.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP for Zillow is 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at a loss of 23 cents per share.

Zacks Rank: Zillow has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Though Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 increases the predictive power of ESP, the company’s ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.

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

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies, which are worth considering as our model shows that they have the right combination of the two elements needed to post an earnings beat:

Synopsys Inc. SNPS, with an Earnings ESP of +6.38% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)

Fitbit Inc. FIT, with an Earnings ESP of +175.00% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

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