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Media Stocks to Watch for Earnings on May 10: DIS, WWE, TRCO

The Q1 earnings season is gradually nearing its end with 87.2% of the S&P 500 companies having already announced their results. Although the bulk of earnings releases have already come from different sectors, most retailers are yet to post their financial results. Hence, investors are keeping their fingers crossed over the outcome.

Per the latest Zacks Earnings Trend report, out of the 436 S&P 500 members that have come up with their quarterly numbers, approximately 71.3% have posted positive earnings surprises. This is because the estimates had fallen quite low ahead of the start of this earnings season based on a dismal start of this year. This, therefore, reflects an improvement in the overall corporate earnings picture.

According to the report, the overall earnings of these 436 S&P 500 companies are down 7.5% from the prior-year period due to a 1.5% year-over-year fall in revenues. The report further projects that earnings of the S&P 500 index will decline 6.7% from the year-ago period, while total revenue will dip 1.1%. We observe that this will be the fourth straight quarter of earnings decline for the index if the projections turn out to be accurate.

However, we must remember that the performance of the index is not restricted to a single sector. Of the 16 Zacks sectors, eight are expected to witness an earnings decline in Q1. Sectors like Basic Materials, Industrial Products, Energy and Conglomerates are likely to underperform. Nonetheless, earnings of the Consumer Discretionary sector are projected to increase 8.4% year over year alongside a 5.7% rise in revenues.

Thus far, the earnings picture of the Consumer Discretionary sector has been very impressive. Major players in the space like Time Warner Cable Inc. TWC, Cablevision Systems Corporation CVC, CBS Corporation CBS and Time Warner Inc. TWX have surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Among Media stocks lined up to report on May 10, let’s take a sneak peek at three companies.

The Walt Disney Company DIS is slated to report fiscal Q2 results after the closing bell on May 10, 2016. In the previous quarter, the company had clocked a positive earnings surprise of 13.2%. Moreover, the company surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all of the past four quarters, with an average earnings surprise of 7.7%.

However, the company’s declining subscriber count and higher programming costs have been a raise concern for investors. Disney’s primary cash cow, ESPN, has been under immense pressure as the Pay-TV landscape continues to change owing to migration of subscribers to online TV. Falling subscriptions will have a telling effect on the network’s ad revenues. Moreover, ESPN does not have any major sports contracts, which may increase cable programming and production costs.

Disney carries a Zacks Rank #3 and has an Earnings ESP of -0.71%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at $1.40, which declined by a penny over the past 7 days. (Read more: Will Q2 Earnings Hold a Surprise for Disney Stock?).

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. WWE is scheduled to report Q1 financial numbers, before the opening bell on May 10. In the previous quarter, the company’s earnings crushed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 500%.

Contractual increase of television rights fees as well as the acquisition and retention of WWE Network subscribers are expected to be the primary growth drivers for the company. Moreover, in order to boost WWE Network’s revenues, the company has been implementing certain strategies including the development of fresh content, execution of customer acquisition and retention programs, increase in distribution platform, introduction of new features and foraying into new locations.

On the flip side, WWE operates in the highly competitive market of entertainment video. Further, decline in pay-per-view revenues over the past four years is another major concern for the company.

WWE holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and has an Earnings ESPof 0.00%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 11 cents. (Read more: World Wrestling Entertainment Q1 Earnings Preview).

Tribune Media Company TRCO, which is scheduled to release Q1 results on May 10, has an Earnings ESP of +3.45% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter earnings is pegged at 29 cents. However, we note that in the trailing four quarters, this media and entertainment company has missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 2.7%.

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TIME WARNER INC (TWX): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CBS CORP (CBS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DISNEY WALT (DIS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
TRIBUNE MEDIA (TRCO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CABLEVISION SYS (CVC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
TIME WARNER CAB (TWC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
WORLD WRESTLING (WWE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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