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Factors Likely to Influence Philip Morris' (PM) Q4 Earnings

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Philip Morris International Inc. PM is likely to register a decline in its top line when it reports fourth-quarter 2020 numbers on Feb 4, before the opening bell. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is pegged at $7,435 million, which indicates a decline of 3.6% from the prior-year quarter’s reported figure. Markedly, the company witnessed top-line decline of 2.6% in the last reported quarter.

Nevertheless, the company’s bottom line is expected to register growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter earnings has moved up two cents in the past 30 days and is currently pegged at $1.23 per share. The consensus mark suggests an improvement of 0.8% from the figure reported in the prior-year quarter. We note that Philip Morris delivered an earnings surprise of 4.4% in the last reported quarter. Also, this tobacco giant has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 7.5%, on average.

Keys Aspects to Note

Philip Morris has long been battling receding cigarette sales volumes, thanks to strict marketing and manufacturing policies imposed by regulatory authorities. Also, campaigns against tobacco consumption have increased consumers’ awareness, resulting in lower smoking rates. Low cigarette sales volumes are likely to have had affected the company’s top line during the fourth quarter. This apart, weak duty free sale, stemming from the coronavirus pandemic-led travel restrictions, is likely to have been a hurdle for the company.

Nonetheless, focus on reduced-risk products (RRPs) or smoke-free products is aiding the company. In fact, Philip Morris is one of the industry pioneers in driving the shift from cigarettes to RRPs. Toward this end, the company’s IQOS, a smokeless cigarette, counts among one of the leading RRPs in the industry. Management noted that since the onset of the pandemic, the switch from smoking cigarettes to RRPs has been trending positively. Continued popularity of RRPs and their growing demand is likely to have been an upside for the company during the fourth quarter.

Philip Morris is also benefiting from its strong pricing power. Though higher pricing might lead to a possible decline in cigarette consumption, it is seen that smokers tend to absorb price increases owing to the addictive quality of cigarettes. Benefits from higher pricing are likely to have supported the company’s adjusted operating income margin in the to-be-reported quarter.

Philip Morris International Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Philip Morris International Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Philip Morris International Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Philip Morris International Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Philip Morris International Inc. Quote

What the Zacks Model Unveils

Our proven model doesn’t conclusively predict an earnings beat for Philip Morris this time around. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the odds of an earnings beat. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Philip Morris currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of -0.54%.

Stocks Poised to Beat Earnings Estimates

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

Sysco Corporation SYY currently has an Earnings ESP of +1.91% and a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Tyson Foods, Inc. TSN currently has an Earnings ESP of +0.16% and a Zacks Rank #3.

Conagra Brands, Inc. CAG has an Earnings ESP of +0.17% and a Zacks Rank #3, at present.

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Philip Morris International Inc. (PM) : Free Stock Analysis Report

CONAGRA BRANDS (CAG) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Sysco Corporation (SYY) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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