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Will Vulcan Materials (VMC) Beat Estimates in Q1 Earnings?

We expect Vulcan Materials Company VMC to beat expectations when it reports first-quarter 2016 results on May 3, before the market opens.

Last quarter, the company had posted a positive surprise of 23.33%. Moreover, the company surpassed estimates in two out of the past four quarters, with in-line earnings in the other two, resulting in an average positive surprise of 7.30%. 



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

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that Vulcan Materials is likely to beat earnings this quarter because it has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, stands at +16.67%. This is meaningful and a leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise for shares.

Zacks Rank: Vulcan Materials has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Note that stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings. The Sell-rated stocks (#4 and 5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement.  

The combination of Vulcan Materials’ Zacks Rank #3 and +16.67% ESP makes us confident of an earnings beat.

Factors to Consider

Vulcan delivered a solid performance in 2015. After severe wet weather disrupted the company’s shipments in the first half of 2015, volumes improved in the latter half backed by increasing demand of construction materials. Moreover, pricing momentum remains robust, translating into expanding profit margins. The same demand and pricing momentum is expected to continue in 2016 and drive revenues in the soon-to-be reported quarter.

Construction activity and demand for aggregates are expected to continue to recover across all the markets in both private and public sector in the first quarter. The company also remains optimistic on strong aggregate reserve position, consistent profit improvements, divestitures of non-strategic operations and significant debt reduction.

However, skilled labor shortages and slight slowdown in demand trends in Texas remain concerns. Also management expects the effect of El-Nino related rainfall to hurt aggregate shipments in early 2016 in California, Arizona and New Mexico. We may witness the said impact in the soon-to-be reported quarter.

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies in the construction sector that can be considered as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

  • Toll Brothers Inc. TOL, with an Earnings ESP of +8.33% and a Zacks Rank #3
  • Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. MLM with an Earnings ESP of +22.58% and a Zacks Rank #3
  • Dycom Industries Inc. DY with an Earnings ESP of +1.33% 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
 
VULCAN MATLS CO (VMC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MARTIN MRT-MATL (MLM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DYCOM INDS (DY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
TOLL BROTHERS (TOL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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