4 Stocks With Big Surprises On Earnings In 2015

Notably, weakness in the Energy sector, a strong U.S. dollar and lackluster global growth – particularly in China and other emerging markets – were the main factors shrouding the earnings picture in 2015. Analysts expect these headwinds to prevail in 2016 as well, nonetheless, some improvement is anticipated in the second half of 2016. (Read more: When Will the Earnings Recession End?)

Thus, lack of earnings power clearly weighed on stocks this year. However, notwithstanding a long list of apprehensions, there have been few high-fliers that have ridden the turbulent times and had a great run, this year, posting big earnings surprises.

4 Stocks that Posted Huge Surprises

With the help of the Zacks Stock Screener, we have zeroed-in on four stocks that flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy), and have recorded EPS (earnings per share) surprise of over 200% in the last four quarters.

However, from a broader perspective, it is the analysts’ consensus about the intrinsic strength of companies, coupled with their earnings performance, which should be closely monitored for gaining a better perceptive and boosting one’s portfolio.

Below are four stocks that have convincingly beaten earnings estimates in the past four quarters, hold excellent prospects and are therefore well-positioned for the future as well:

Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación, S.A.B. de C.V. (VLRS - Snapshot Report) is an ultra-low-cost carrier, with point-to-point operations, serving Mexico and the U.S. The company is poised to benefit from lower jet fuel prices given the inversely proportional relation between crude prices and the value of aviation stocks. Also, the tentative aviation treaty between the U.S. and the Mexican government is welcome news for the company.

This Zacks Rank #1 company’s earnings have beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters, with the average being 205.15%. Additionally, the company’s estimates have been moving north over the past two months, which has lifted its 2015 and 2016 Zacks Consensus Estimate by 15.7% and 10.2% to $1.47 and $1.19 per share, respectively. Moreover, for full-year 2015, EPS is expected to improve a momentous 259.35%.

Based in Chicago, IL, United States Cellular Corporation (USM - Analyst Report) provides wireless telecommunications services in the U.S. We expect U.S. Cellular to benefit from its latest drive of LTE expansion and smartphone sales, which are likely to boost earnings, going ahead. Also, continued focus on subscriber base expansion and reduction of churn through various strategic initiatives should boost the company’s performance. Notably, the company raised its full-year 2015 outlook for operating cash flow and adjusted EBITDA recently.

This Zacks Rank #2 company has posted positive earnings surprises in all of the prior four quarters, with an average beat of a massive 1,836.07%. Also, upward estimate revisions reinstate hope on the stock’s prospects. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2015 and 2016 has climbed up by 41.2% and 264.7% to $2.33 and 62 cents per share, respectively, over the last 60 days. Further, for full-year 2015, EPS is expected to grow a robust 286.60%.

Gibraltar Industries, Inc. (ROCK - Analyst Report) manufactures and distributes products to the industrial and buildings market. The company continues to witness improvement in business, backed by growth in residential market demand and tactical value-creation strategies. Further, Gibraltar Industries remains committed toward increasing its shareholders' wealth through superior operational management, innovation, portfolio transformation and acquisition plans.

This Zacks Rank #2 company outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 213.13%. Moreover, analysts have become increasingly bullish on the company over the past two months, leading to a sharp spike of 10.2% in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2016 earnings, which now stands at $1.19. What’s more, for full-year 2015, EPS is likely to grow an astounding 98.58%.
 
Post Holdings, Inc. (POST - Snapshot Report) is a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded ready-to-eat cereals in the U.S. and Canada. The company expects it strong portfolio that provides a balance of diversification, organic growth and M&A opportunities to carry the momentum going forward. With improving sales, complementing business units and healthy balance sheet, Post Holdings is set to witness strong growth over the next few quarters.

This Zacks Rank #2 company’s earnings have surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in two of the last four quarters, with an average beat of a massive 226.91%. Moreover, analysts have become increasingly bullish on the company over the past two months, leading to a sharp spike of 10.7% and 11.7% in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2015 and 2016 earnings, which now stands at $1.35 and $1.91, respectively. Also, for full-year 2015, EPS is expected to grow a healthy 116.94%.

What Lies Ahead

Many will be pleased to put 2015 in the rearview mirror, but the forces that haunted investors this year are still with us, entering into 2016. However, as the saying goes “Tough times do not last, but tough people do,” only those who can deal with the frivolous market dynamics can manage to stay afloat.

Thus, it is imperative to use the lessons learned in 2015 to carve out extra stock market profits in the forthcoming year. We advise investors to consider stocks with strong fundamentals that are poised to deliver solid earnings performance and hold steady while the broad markets blow hot and cold.

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