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Will Huge Outflows Hurt WisdomTree's (WETF) Q1 Earnings?

WisdomTree Investments, Inc. WETF is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 29.

Last quarter, this New York-based exchange traded fund (“ETF”) and exchange-traded product (“ETP”) sponsor and asset manager’s earnings met expectations and came ahead of the prior-year quarter's earnings. Results reflected robust revenue growth, partially offset by higher expenses. Also, the company recorded growth in U.S. listed ETF assets under management (AUM) and European listed AUM.  

Will WisdomTree be able to deliver improved earnings this quarter as well?  Or will results be affected by significant outflows witnessed during the quarter? Let’s see how things have shaped up.

Factors at Play

The beginning of 2016 has been quite tough for WisdomTree as it was hit with $5.2 billion outflows during the first quarter. This is in sharp contrast with the prior-year quarter’s net inflows of $13.7 billion.  

The outflows have been mostly driven by international hedged products, particularly company’s major currency-hedged funds – WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (HEDJ) and WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ). Notably, HEDJ and DXJ which constitute around 60% of the company’s AUM, experience elevated outflows as the U.S. dollar continued to weaken against most global currencies.

On the brighter side, funds that witnessed positive flows include Europe small-cap dividend (DFE), Japan hedged real estate (DXJR) and US Dollar Bullish Fund (USDU).

The first quarter experienced market turmoil driven by issues including the China turmoil and continued volatility in commodity prices. Therefore, taking the market performance in its stride, overall AUM is expected to trend down or remain stable for WisdomTree.

During the quarter, WisdomTree remained focused on executing its strategic growth initiatives including expansion of distribution capabilities, investment in technology, launch of innovative products and addition of personnel. Given such initiatives, we expect marketing and sales expenses to trend higher in the first quarter.

Considering the heightened volatility around flows, a key area to look at will be compensation expense level during the quarter. Management expects a compensation expense of 24-28% for the year.

WisdiomTree’s activities during the quarter were inadequate to win analysts’ confidence. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter remained stable at 9 cents over the last seven days.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that WisdomTree is likely to beat earnings in the upcoming release. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive">Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or at least #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold) for this to happen. Unfortunately, this is not the case here as elaborated below.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP for WisdomTree is 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at 9 cents.

Zacks Rank: WisdomTree’s Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) further lowers the predictive power of ESP. As it is, we caution investors against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 and #5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement.

Stocks That Warrant a Look

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

Federated Investors, Inc. FII has an Earnings ESP of +2.33% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company will release results on Apr 28.

Legg Mason Inc. LM has an Earnings ESP of +7.69% and a Zacks Rank #3. It is scheduled to report on Apr 28.

Credit Acceptance Corp. CACC has an Earnings ESP of +0.53% and a Zacks Rank #2. It is expected to report results on May 2.

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CREDIT ACCEPT (CACC): Free Stock Analysis Report
LEGG MASON INC (LM): Free Stock Analysis Report
FEDERATED INVST (FII): Free Stock Analysis Report
WISDOMTREE INV (WETF): Free Stock Analysis Report
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