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What Awaits L-3 Communications (LLL) in Q1 Earnings?

L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. LLL is set to release first-quarter 2016 results before the opening bell on Apr 27. In the preceding quarter, the company had delivered a positive earnings surprise of 6.93%. Let’s see how things are shaping up prior to this announcement.

Factors to Consider This Quarter

L-3 Communications is working on transforming its business portfolio to focus on the defense electronics, communications, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance markets where it has a leading position.

During the fourth quarter of 2015, the company acquired a Nashville-based ForceX, Inc., a company that specializes in ISR mission-management software and geospatial application technology. It expects the newly acquired business to add $30 million to sales in 2016.

Among the highlights of the first quarter, L-3 Communications has bagged a number of contracts. The company received a major contract for a Power Node Control Center for naval destroyers. The company believes that its use can be expanded further to other U.S. Navy platforms, including carriers, amphibious assault ships and littoral combat ships.

During the quarter, L-3 Communications increased its quarterly dividend by 7.7%. The revised quarterly dividend payment amounted to 70 cents, up from the previous payout of 65 cents. The hike will increase the annualized payout to $2.80 from the previous payout of $2.60.

However, on its fourth-quarter earnings call, the company said that the final surplus of the Afghanistan drawdown sales would dent its revenues by about $135 million in 2016, without which, sales to the U.S. government and DoD markets would be more or less flat.

Surprise History

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model shows that L-3 Communications is likely to miss the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the first quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold) to be able to beat estimates. However, that is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is -0.63%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at $1.58, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is a tad higher at $1.59.

Zacks Rank: L-3 Communications has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). As it is, we caution against stocks with a Zacks Ranks #4 or #5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are some companies you may want to consider instead, as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc. SPR has an Earnings ESP of +6.60% and a Zacks Rank #2. The company will report quarterly results on Apr 29, 2016.

Raytheon Company RTN has an Earnings ESP of +0.74% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to report quarterly results on Apr 28.

Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. HII has an Earnings ESP of +0.47% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to report quarterly results on May 5.

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SPIRIT AEROSYS (SPR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
RAYTHEON CO (RTN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
L-3 COMM HLDGS (LLL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HUNTINGTON INGL (HII): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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