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4 Software Stocks Set to Beat Estimates this Earnings Season


Macroeconomic concerns like declining oil prices, the slowdown in the Chinese economy, and a stronger dollar which plagued the U.S. financial market last year haven’t subsided yet.  Investors, therefore, prefer to look for those stocks that can perform well even in such a challenging environment.
 
According to the Zacks Earnings Trend Report, Q1 is likely to be weak with earnings growth predominantly in the negative territory for the fourth consecutive quarter. While earnings are likely to decline 10.9%, revenues will drop 2.2% on modestly lower net margin.
 
Nevertheless, we would like to highlight some stocks in the Software industry which are likely to beat estimates this earnings season.
 
Why the Software Industry?
 
The earnings growth scenario for the overall Technology sector is gloomy as the Zacks Earnings Trend predicts a year-over-year decline of 7.8% in Q1. The report suggests that the sector will see softness in its each sub-industry, except Software and Telecommunications Services.
 
The Software industry is likely to witness 7.2% earnings growth year over year this season. Notably, the industry has registered earnings growth of 9.7% and 7.6% in the preceding two quarters.
 
Over the years, the innovation in the Software industry changed the way organizations conduct their businesses and people connect with each other.
 
As technology continues its rapid invasion into every corner of human existence, the need for improved software has skyrocketed. The last two years witnessed breakthroughs in cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, chip shrinking technology, self-driving cars, personal assistants, high-speed Internet and home automation, thus setting the stage for strong growth in the  Software industry.
 
Per Fortune, Forrester Research expects software expenditure to increase 5.7% to a staggering $600 billion in 2016, driven mostly by cloud applications, analytics and mobile. This is much higher than the projected growth rate of 3.8% for the entire tech industry spending, which is likely to touch $2.9 trillion. The report also pointed out that $108 billion will be spent on SaaS this year, up 24% year over year.
 
As software promises a bright future, we believe adding some of these stocks to your portfolio will help you make a pretty penny this earnings season.
 
4 Stocks That Are Likely Winners this Earnings Season
 
By using Zacks proprietary methodology, investors may select stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank – Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) – and a positive Earnings ESP, because these criteria indicate that they have a fair chance of beating estimates this season. Zacks Earnings ESP shows the percentage difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
 
The following four stocks meet both the criteria.
 
Benefitfocus Inc. (BNFT)
 
The Charleston, SC-based company offers cloud-based software solutions to consumers, employers, insurance carriers and brokers. Benefitfocus’ platform of products and services enable customers to efficiently shop, enroll, manage and exchange information regarding benefits.
 
The Zacks Rank #1 stock has an Earnings ESP of +4.00%. Moreover, the company delivered positive earnings surprises in the last four quarters with an average beat of 10.60%. The company is expected to declare Q1 results on May 4.
 
F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV)
 
F5 Networks is a leading provider of integrated Internet traffic and content management solutions designed to improve the availability and performance of mission-critical Internet-based servers and applications. The company's products monitor and manage local and geographically dispersed servers and intelligently direct traffic to the server best able to handle user's request.
 
The Zacks Rank #2 stock has an Earnings ESP of +1.58%. Moreover, the company has delivered positive earnings surprises in two out of last four quarters with an average surprise of 1.77%. The company will announce its second-quarter fiscal 2016 results on Apr 20.
 
DTS Inc. (DTSI)
 
DTS delivers the ultimate entertainment experience. The company’s decoders are in nearly every major brand of 5.1-channel surround processors, and more than 300 million DTS-licensed consumer electronics products are available worldwide.
 
The company has a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of +59.09%. Moreover, DTS delivered positive earnings surprises in three out of the last four quarters with an average surprise of 19.39%. The company is expected to announce Q1 results on May 9.
 
FireEye Inc. (FEYE)
 
Headquartered in Milpitas, CA FireEye provides security platform for enterprises and governments to counter cyber attacks. The company offers web security, email security, file security and malware analysis.
 
The company carries a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of +1.12%. Moreover, FireEye has delivered positive earnings surprises in three out of the last four quarters with an average surprise of 6.47%. The company will announce Q1 results on May 5.
 
Conclusion
 
For those keen on investing in software stocks, this might be a good time to get in and earn a neat profit.
 
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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
 
BENEFITFOCUS (BNFT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
F5 NETWORKS INC (FFIV): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DTS INC (DTSI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
FIREEYE INC (FEYE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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