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Canadian Pacific (CP): Stock to Beat Earnings Again in Q1?

Canadian Pacific Railway Limited CP is set to release its first-quarter 2016 results before the opening bell on Apr 20.

In the final quarter of 2015, the company had posted a positive earnings surprise of 0.99%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for the upcoming announcement.

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that Canadian Pacific is likely to beat earnings because it has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Zacks ESP: Canadian Pacific’s Earnings ESP stands at +1.11%. This is because the company’s Most Accurate estimate is $1.83, whereas the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.81. A favorable ESP serves as a meaningful and leading indicator of a likely positive surprise. 

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

The combination of Canadian Pacific’s Zacks Rank #1 and +1.11% ESP makes us reasonably confident of an earnings beat.

What is Driving the Better-than-Expected Earnings?

This Calgary, Canada-based railroad operator has an impressive history with respect to earnings, having outshined the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters. The average earnings beat for the company stands at 2.26%.

We believe that Canadian Pacific’s bottom line in the first quarter of 2016 is poised to benefit from lower operating expenses. We are impressed with the company’s disciplined cost structure.

Canadian Pacific recently scrapped its plans of merging with peer Norfolk Southern Corp. NSC. Subsequently, CEO Hunter Harrison stated that the company will consider using the cash, which was to be utilized for the Norfolk Southern takeover, toward shareholder friendly measures like a buyback/dividend raise or both.

Other Stocks to Consider

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

Canadian National Railway Company CNI with an earnings ESP of +1.47% and a Zacks Rank #1. The company will report results on Apr 25.

Kansas City Southern KSU with an earnings ESP of +1.04% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to report results on Apr 19.

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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
 
KANSAS CITY SOU (KSU): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CDN NATL RY CO (CNI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NORFOLK SOUTHRN (NSC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CDN PAC RLWY (CP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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