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Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) Q1 Earnings: What's in Store?

We expect Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. CCE to beat expectations when it reports first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 28, before the market opens.

Coca-Cola Enterprises is due to merge with two of The Coca-Cola Company’s KO European bottlers — Coca-Cola Iberian Partners and Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke AG — to form a Western European bottler — Coca-Cola European Partners. The transaction is expected to close by the end of second-quarter 2016.

Last quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 3.92%.

The Western European bottler of Coca-Cola delivered positive earnings surprises in the past four quarters with an average surprise of 3.50%.

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

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that Coca-Cola Enterprises is likely to beat earnings because it has the right combination of two key components.

Zacks ESP: Coca-Cola Enterprises’">Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate (41 cents per share) and the Zacks Consensus Estimate (40 cents), stands at +2.50%. This is a meaningful and leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise.

Zacks Rank: Coca-Cola Enterprises has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Note that stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) and 3 have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings.

Conversely, the Sell-rated stocks (Zacks Rank #4 and 5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement.

The combination of Coca-Cola Enterprises’ Zacks Rank #2 and +2.50% ESP makes us confident of an earnings beat.

What's Driving the Better-than-Expected Earnings?

Persistent weakness in consumer environment in Europe and strong currency headwinds –  deteriorating euro against strengthening U.S. dollar – have been hurting the company’s sales and volumes. Nonetheless, the company is leveraging package and product innovation to support volume growth.

Despite sales remaining weak, commodity cost favorability, cost cutting and share repurchases are driving the company’s operating profit and earnings per share (EPS) growth. We expect the trend to continue in the to-be-reported quarter.

However, in the first quarter, comparable and currency-neutral operating income and EPS growth are expected to decline slightly due to unfavorable timing of expenses and one less selling day. Currency translation is expected to hurt the upcoming earnings by 5%.

Stocks to Consider

Some stocks in the food/beverage sector that have both a positive Earnings ESP and a favorable Zacks Rank include:

Kellogg Company K with an Earnings ESP of +1.08% and a Zacks Rank #3.

Mead Johnson Nutrition Company MJN with an Earnings ESP of +2.41% 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
COCA-COLA ENTRP (CCE): Free Stock Analysis Report
COCA COLA CO (KO): Free Stock Analysis Report
KELLOGG CO (K): Free Stock Analysis Report
MEAD JOHNSON NU (MJN): Free Stock Analysis Report
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