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Broadcasting Stocks to Watch for Earnings on May 6: SSP, MEG

We are in the thick of the Q1 earnings season with 374 members of the S&P index having already released their quarterly numbers. While growth with respect to both the top and the bottom line continue to be negative, the picture with respect to beats (71.4% and 56.4% of the S&P membership have beat estimates for earnings and revenues respectively) is pretty decent. The reason behind the increased number of earnings and revenue beats this time around is the lowered estimates, courtesy the drastic reduction in the same over the past few months. A weaker greenback has also come in handy, enabling the upbeat performance.

The picture is unlikely to change drastically as far as the remaining earnings reports are concerned. As per our latest Zacks Earning Trends report, the Q1 season is likely to end with negative growth rates with respect to earnings per share (-7.1%) and revenues (-1.1%) for the S&P 500 members. This would make the current earnings season the fourth consecutive one to display negative bottom-line growth. With growth hard to achieve, courtesy the numerous headwinds, it is no surprise that 8 of the 16 Zacks sectors are currently displaying negative earnings growth. Of the sectors flaunting positive bottom-line growth, auto companies are way ahead of the rest with a stellar 53.2% growth figure.

The widely diversified Consumer Discretionary sector comes in second with earnings growth of 9.9% (data as of May 4). The growth rate with respect to the top line for 62.2% of the Consumer Discretionary companies who have already released their numbers is in the positive territory (3.9%). As has been the case in the current season, the beat ratios are impressive for this sector as well (82.6% for earnings and 60.9% for revenues).

The healthy performance of the sector is reflected by the fact that we have already seen impressive performances from major players in the space like Time Warner Cable Inc. TWC and CBS Corporation CBS.

Let's take a look at how two broadcasting companies from the sector, slated to report earnings tomorrow, are poised ahead of the scheduled announcements:

The E. W. Scripps Company SSP, based in Cincinnati, OH, is scheduled to report its first-quarter 2016 results before market opens. Things do not look rosy for this broadcasting player, founded in 1878, in the first quarter as per our quantitative model. Here’s why:

The E. W. Scripps Company does not have the right combination of two key ingredients – positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better – necessary for increasing the odds of an earnings surprise.

The Earnings ESP for The E. W. Scripps Company is 0.00% as both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at a breakeven.

Meanwhile, the company carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). We caution against Sell-rated stocks going into an earnings announcement, especially if the company has been seeing negative estimate revisions. Also, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s first-quarter earnings has gone down by 11 cents over the last 90 days.

Media General, Inc. MEG, based in Richmond, VA, is scheduled to post its first-quarter 2016 results before market opens. Our model does not predict an earnings beat for this 1850-founded company. The company has a Zacks Rank #3 but that alone is not sufficient to secure an earnings beat. The Earnings ESP for Media General is 0.00% as the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are both pegged at 9 cents.

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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
CBS CORP (CBS): Free Stock Analysis Report
MEDIA GENERAL (MEG): Free Stock Analysis Report
TIME WARNER CAB (TWC): Free Stock Analysis Report
EW SCRIPPS CO (SSP): Free Stock Analysis Report
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