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

What's in the Cards for Sony (SNE) in Q4 Earnings?

Sony Corporation SNE is set to report earnings results for the fourth-quarter fiscal 2015 on Apr 28.

After posting a series of earnings misses in fiscal 2014, this leading electronics manufacturer reported strong earnings in the last quarter on the back of lower operating costs and a surge in PlayStation4 (“PS4”) software sales.

Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Key Factors Influencing Q4 Results

If the last three quarters were any indication, Sony’s Game & Network Services business, which accounts for the company’s service-related revenues, is expected to act as the primary growth driver for fourth-quarter fiscal 2015. Having captured the fancy of the gaming crowd with its previous PS editions, Sony had set the stage for more frenzy with the global launch of PS4 in Nov 2013.

Furthermore, in the previous quarter, Sony revealed its plans to consolidate all of its PlayStation hardware, software and network operations under one roof — Sony Interactive Entertainment -- to unlock greater efficiency and implement tighter integration across its operating units. This internal reorganization along with strong PS hardware sales are expected to propel growth in the to-be-reported quarter.

In addition, Sony has been diligently making changes in its internal administration to attain a leaner organizational structure to augment growth. In this regard, the company announced the split of its storage media and semiconductor businesses and shift to Sony Storage Media and Devices Corporation (“SSMD”) and Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (“SSS”).

Also, the company has split its network platform development and operation business under Network Entertainment Division and has also placed it under Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (“SCEI”) and another of its subsidiaries, Sony Haneda Corporation, for better management and utilization of group-owned assets.

Apart from this, Sony has undertaken a number of initiatives for its Branded Product Business, which includes Mobile Communications, Imaging Product & Solutions, and Home Entertainment & Sound segments. A number of measures, including cost-reduction initiatives, lower exposure in low-profit geographic regions and reduction in advertising & promotion expenses, are expected to benefit this business over the long haul.

Moreover, Sony has bought Toshiba’s CMOS image sensors business which is expected to strengthen its Devices segment. We believe these actions will be conducive to the company’s financial performance in the to-be reported quarter. Also, during fourth-quarter fiscal 2015, Sony announced plans to acquire Israel-based technology company Altair Semiconductor for $212 million, in order to expand its footprint in the thriving wearable and IoT devices market.

Despite these positives, Sony’s businesses, namely, mobile, sensor and devices are facing significant headwinds, which are likely to impact its financial performance in the near term. For instance, the losses in its Mobile as well as Devices businesses are added concerns. Moreover, Sony’s Battery business has been showing signs of weakness, and its camera module business too, is likely to deteriorate in the near future. Also, the company does not foresee any improvement in battery sales in fiscal 2015.

In addition, foreign currency fluctuations have proved to be a major drag on Sony’s Mobile Communications, Imaging Products and Solutions, Home Entertainment & Sound, and Devices businesses in the last quarter. This trend is expected to persist in the present quarter as well.

Furthermore, weak economic conditions in countries like Japan and China may weigh on the company’s financials. Also, the recent earthquake in the Kumamoto region has led to suspension of operations which in turn is likely to impact Sony's operating results, particularly in the Devices and Imaging Products & Solutions segments.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Sony will beat earnings in its fiscal fourth 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. But that is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP for the company currently stands at 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at a loss of 58 cents.

Zacks Rank: Though Sony has a Zacks Rank #3, its 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

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

Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are some companies that you may want to consider, as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Coeur Mining, Inc. CDE has an Earnings ESP of +12.50% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). It is expected to report first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 27, after market close.

Westar Energy, Inc. WR has an Earnings ESP of +10.64% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 4, after market close.

TECO Energy, Inc. TE has an Earnings ESP of +3.70% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is slated to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 5, before market opens.

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
SONY CORP ADR (SNE): Free Stock Analysis Report
TECO ENERGY (TE): Free Stock Analysis Report
WESTAR ENERGY (WR): Free Stock Analysis Report
COEUR MINING (CDE): Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on click here.
Zacks Investment Research