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What Awaits Newfield Exploration (NFX) this Earnings Season?

Newfield Exploration Company NFX is set to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 3.

The company reported stable results in the trailing four quarters, beating the Zacks Consensus in three out of the four, with a positive average surprise of 752.27%. In the last reported quarter, Newfield Exploration’s earnings of 30 cents surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a penny. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Consider

Almost throughout first-quarter 2016, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude traded significantly below the $40-per-barrel level. Most importantly, WTI crude fell to the 12-year low mark of below $27 per barrel during mid February. The low levels were owing to plentiful supplies and lackluster demand. Predictably, Newfield Exploration was able to extract less value for its products. This is sure to put pressure on the company’s first-quarter profit margins.  

With the weakness in oil prices, the top energy companies cut spending (in particular on the costly drilling projects) to make up for lower profit margins. This, in turn, meant less work for the beleaguered drillers as exploration for new oil and gas projects almost came to a standstill in the quarter to be reported.

Overall activities of Newfield Exploration were inadequate to win analysts’ confidence. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter fell to a loss of 11 cents from a loss of 9 cents over the last 7 days.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Newfield is likely to beat on earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Newfield has an Earnings ESP is 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at a loss of 11 cents.

Zacks Rank: Newfield carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, a 0.00% ESP complicates our surprise prediction.

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

Stocks to Consider

Some stocks from the energy space which, according to our model, have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter are:

Phillips 66 Partners L.P. PSXP with an Earnings ESP of +1.85% and a Zacks Rank #3 .

Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. DO with an Earnings ESP of +11.11% and a Zacks Rank #3.

Ensco plc ESV has an Earnings ESP of +6.25 % and a Zacks Rank #3.

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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
ENSCO PLC (ESV): Free Stock Analysis Report
DIAMOND OFFSHOR (DO): Free Stock Analysis Report
NEWFIELD EXPL (NFX): Free Stock Analysis Report
PHILLIPS 66 PTR (PSXP): Free Stock Analysis Report
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