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Level 3 Communications (LVLT) Likely to Top Q1 Earnings

Zacks Equity Research

Level 3 Communications Inc. LVLT – a major international communications and information services company –is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 financial numbers on Apr 28, before the market opens.

Last quarter, the company’s earnings were in line with Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, its earnings have surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the previous four quarters, with an average beat of 3.85%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that the company is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate because it has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Zacks ESP: Level 3 Communications has an Earnings ESP of +2.22%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at 46 cents while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged lower at 45 cents. This is meaningful and a leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise.

Zacks Rank: The company has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Note that stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 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, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

The combination of Level 3 Communications’ Zacks Rank #3 and positive ESP makes us fairly confident of an earnings beat this season.

What is Driving the Better-than-Expected Earnings?

With the global Ethernet market in focus, Level 3 Communications has been rapidly increasing its fibre presence in Latin America as well as the European, Middle Eastern and Asian (EMEA) countries.Apart from geographical network expansion, Level 3 Communications is also enhancing its bandwidth capability and flexibility to enable customer MNCs to adjust bandwidth according to their requirements.

Level 3 Communications presently leads the U.S. Ethernet market, along with with AT&T Inc. T, as per research carried out by the Vertical Systems Group, a data analytical firm. However, as Cable MSOs like Comcast Corporation CMCSA continue to expand their fibre and Ethernet reach in other metro cities and systematically implement DOCSIS 3.1, we believe Level 3’s market share may come under pressure soon.

Another Stock to Consider

Level 3 Communications is not the only company looking up this earnings season. Here is another company that investors may consider as our model shows it has the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter as well.

Charter Communications, Inc. CHTR with an Earnings ESP of +4.6% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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AT&T INC (T): Free Stock Analysis Report
LEVEL 3 COMM (LVLT): Free Stock Analysis Report
COMCAST CORP A (CMCSA): Free Stock Analysis Report
CHARTER COMM-A (CHTR): Free Stock Analysis Report
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