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CenturyLink (CTL) Q1 Earnings: What's Ahead for the Stock?

CenturyLink, Inc. CTL is slated to release its first-quarter 2016 results after the market closes on May 4.

Last quarter, CenturyLink delivered a positive earnings surprise of 23.08%. Moreover, the company’s earnings have surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the four quarters, with an average beat of 7.06%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Influence This Quarter

CenturyLink plans to monetize its collocation assets through the wholesale mode to other providers and enterprises. Given the bleak future of collocation revenues, CenturyLink is looking for ways to avoid investment in the segment. Persistently sub-par performance at the segment has resulted in investors calling for a sale of these assets.

Recently, CenturyLink’s rival, AT&T Inc. T decided to divest its data center business to IBM Corporation IBM. On the back of its focus on other core revenue generating activities, we believe that CenturyLink will be able to deploy its resources optimally for value creation, going forward.

CenturyLink recently inked an agreement with leading cybersecurity analytics firm, WISeKey, to offer cybersecurity services for Internet of Things (IoT) providers. The companies hope to leverage each other’s capabilities to provide seamless managed services for the IoT businesses. Recognizing the need to provide security services for IoT’s data transmission purposes, we believe that CenturyLink’s tie-up with WISeKey will give the company an opportunity to generate healthy revenues, going forward.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that CenturyLink is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate this 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. Unfortunately, that is not the case here as elaborated below.

Zacks ESP: CenturyLink has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at 68 cents.

Zacks Rank: CenturyLink has a Zacks Rank #3 which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, we need to have a positive ESP to be confident of an earnings surprise.

Note that we caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or #5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.      

A Stock to Consider

Here is a company you may want to consider as our model shows it has the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

ACI Worldwide, Inc. ACIW has an ESP of 12.50% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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INTL BUS MACH (IBM): Free Stock Analysis Report
AT&T INC (T): Free Stock Analysis Report
ACI WORLDWIDE (ACIW): Free Stock Analysis Report
CENTURYLINK INC (CTL): Free Stock Analysis Report
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