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Can Baidu (BIDU) Spring a Surprise this Earnings Season?

Baidu, Inc. BIDU is set to report first quarter 2016 results on Apr 28. Last quarter, the company posted a huge 1,179.07% positive earnings surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors at Play

Baidu posted decent fourth quarter results, with the top- and bottom-line numbers beating the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Baidu’s increasing presence in the online video market is likely to improve its competitive position. However, higher promotional expenses, heavy spending on video and O2O, and increasing competition on its own search platform from the likes of Qihoo 360 Technology and Sohu’s Sogou search engine remain concerns.

Some of the current buoyancy surrounding the shares is related to the company’s strong dominance in the mobile search market and its consistent product development efforts. Moreover, Baidu continues to gain market share. We believe that the company has significant growth potential in the mobile market over the long term.

For the first quarter of 2016, Baidu expects total revenue in the range of RMB15.410 billion (or $2.379 billion) to RMB15.970 billion (or $2.465 billion), representing year-over-year increase of 21.1%–25.5%. Analysts polled by Zacks expect revenues of $2.429 billion. 

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Baidu will beat estimates 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: Both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at 78 cents. Therefore, its Earnings ESP is 0.00%.

Zacks Rank: Baidu’s Zacks Rank #3 when combined with a 0.00% ESP makes 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 negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

You may consider the following stocks, with a positive Earnings ESP and a favorable Zacks Rank:

Anixter International Inc. AXE, with an Earnings ESP of +13.58% and a Zacks Rank #1

Himax Technologies, Inc. HIMX with an Earnings ESP of +16.67% and Zacks Rank #1

Ford Motor Co. F, with an Earnings ESP of +11.63% and a Zacks Rank #3

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
BAIDU INC (BIDU): Free Stock Analysis Report
FORD MOTOR CO (F): Free Stock Analysis Report
HIMAX TECH-ADR (HIMX): Free Stock Analysis Report
ANIXTER INTL (AXE): Free Stock Analysis Report
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