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Will CVS Health (CVS) Earnings Surprise Estimates in Q1?

CVS Health Corporation CVS is scheduled to report its first-quarter 2016 results before the opening bell on May 3.

Last quarter, CVS Health posted earnings in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, earnings beats in two of the prior three quarters have propelled a trailing four-quarter positive average surprise of 1.61%. Let’s see how things are shaping up prior to this announcement.


Factors at Play

CVS Health is optimistic about maintaining its solid year-over-year earnings trend in the first quarter, directing toward a strong 2016. This, according to the company, will be driven by an expected benefit from the Pharmacy Services segment. The benefit takes into consideration growth from the specialty pharmacy business and a growing Retail Pharmacy segment based on increased same-store sales.

Earlier CVS Health noted that despite tough pricing competition, the company is gaining well on its 2016 selling season. Gross new business wins for 2016 remained at $14.8 billion while there was a $1.2 billion increase in net new business. The 2016 retention rate was at 98%.

Coming to retail, we take note of the recently completed Omnicare and Target Pharmacy acquisitions, which are currently undergoing the integration process. According to the company, both the acquisitions are strategic fits. CVS Health expects to benefit with multiple opportunities for driving enterprise value from Omnicare and Target in both the near and long term.

CVS Health currently expects Omnicare to be approximately 20 cents accretive to its 2016 earnings per share (excluding any transaction and integration costs). The Target Pharmacy acquisition on the other hand should expand CVS Health's customer base, add a new retail channel for its products and augment customer convenience. We expect these benefits to be reflected in CVS Health’s retail performance from the first quarter itself.

CVS Health also expects to see market share gain in its specialty pharmacy suite of services with differentiated specialty offerings providing a high level of clinical support to patients. According to the company, with increasing brand prices and accelerating growth in specialty, more clients are welcoming CVS Health’s product offerings.

However, while reiterating its 2016 outlook, the company earlier noted that while it is expected to be a strong year, the cadence of profit growth is likely to be significantly back-half weighted. This indicates a bearish first-quarter performance compared to the rest of the upcoming quarters of 2016.

The company currently projects its first-quarter 2016 adjusted EPS in the range of $1.14−$1.17.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that CVS Health is likely to beat earnings 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. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: CVS Health’s Earnings ESP is 0.00% since the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate both stand at $1.16.

Zacks Rank: CVS Health has a Zacks Rank #3, which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, a 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

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.

Stocks to Consider

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

Align Technology Inc. ALGN has an Earnings ESP of +12.82% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Becton, Dickinson and Company BDX has an Earnings ESP of +2.49% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD has an Earnings ESP of +1.65% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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ALIGN TECH INC (ALGN): Free Stock Analysis Report
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CVS HEALTH CORP (CVS): Free Stock Analysis Report
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