U.S. Markets closed

Zacks.com featured highlights: Potbelly, Inogen, U.S. Silica Holdings, NextEra Energy Partners and Diamondback Energy

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 16, 2017 - Stocks in this week’s article include Potbelly Corporation (NASDAQ: PBPB – Free Report ), Inogen Inc. (NASDAQ: INGN – Free Report ), U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SLCA – Free Report ), NextEra Energy Partners LP (NYSE: NEP – Free Report ) and Diamondback Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FANG – Free Report ).

Screen of the Week of Zacks Investment Research:

5 Top-Ranked Stocks to Tape Earnings Beat Potential

Equity investors are all attentive before an earnings release. This is because earnings apparently indicate a company’s financial health. No wonder, solid earnings growth speaks about business well-being, but there is another metric which is gaining attention lately, i.e. positive earnings surprise or earnings beat. Let’s tell you why it is so important.

What is Earnings Beat?

Investors always try to position themselves ahead of time and look for stocks that are likely to come up with a stellar performance. After much brainstorming, Wall Street analysts project earnings of companies. These estimates act as investment leads.

A positive earnings surprise or earnings beat is typically the case when actual or reported earnings come in above the consensus estimate. Historically, if a company’s earnings manage to beat market expectations, its stock surges post release.

Why Earnings Beat is Superior to Earnings Growth?

A 20% earnings rise (though apparently looks good) doesn’t tell you everything about the company. This might represent a decelerating earnings growth momentum over the years or quarters, raising questions over the company’s fundamentals.

Also, seasonal fluctuations come into the play sometimes. If a company’s Q1 is seasonally weak and Q4 is strong, then it is likely to report a sequential earnings decline. In such cases, growth rates are misleading while judging the true health of a company.

On the other hand, analysts put together their insights and a company’s guidance when giving an earnings estimate. Thus, outperforming that estimate is almost equivalent to beating the company’s own expectation as well as market perception. Of course, this gives you a clear picture of the company’s bottom line. And if the margin of earnings surprise is big, it typically drives the stock higher right after the release.

How to Find Stocks that Can Beat?

Now, since it is difficult to predict if a company will beat or miss in the upcoming earnings season, investors can check the earnings surprise history. An impressive track in this regard generally acts as a catalyst in sending a stock higher. It indicates the company’s ability to surpass estimates. And investors generally believe that the company will have the same trick up its sleeve or in other words is smart enough to beat on earnings in its next release.

The Winning Strategy

In order to shortlist stocks that are likely to come up with an earnings surprise, we chose the followingas our primary screening parameters.

Last EPS Surprise greater than or equal to 10%: Stocks delivering positive surprise in the last quarter tend to surprise again.

Average EPS Surprise in the last four quarters greater than 20%: We lifted the bar for outperformance slightly higher by setting the average EPS surprise for the last four quarters at 20%.

Average EPS Surprise in the last two quarters greater than 20%: This points to a more consistent surprise history and makes the case for another surprise even stronger.

In addition, we place a few other criteria that push up the chance of a surprise.

Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2: Only companies with a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) can get through.

Earnings ESP greater than zero: A stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank of #1, 2 or 3 (Hold) for an earnings beat to happen, as per our proven model.

In order to zero in on those that have long-term growth potential and high trading liquidity we have added the following parameters too:

Next 3–5 Years Estimated EPS Growth (Per Year) greater than 10%: Solid expected earnings growth exhibits the stock’s long-term growth prospects.

Average 20-day Volume greater than 100,000: High trading volume implies that the stocks have adequate liquidity.

A handful of criteria narrowed down the universe from over 7,700 stocks to just nine.

Here are five out of the six stocks:

Potbelly Corporation (NASDAQ: PBPB – Free Report ): The company is a sandwich concept. It carries a Zacks Rank #2. The VGM score of the stock is ‘A.’ The stock has a Zacks Rank #2.

Inogen Inc. (NASDAQ: INGN – Free Report ): This is a medical technology company. It carries a Zacks Rank #2. The VGM score of the stock is ‘A.’ The stock has a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SLCA – Free Report ): This producer of industrial minerals carries a Zacks Rank #2. It is in the top 38% of the Zacks Industry Rank. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2.

NextEra Energy Partners LP (NYSE: NEP – Free Report ): It is engaged in owning, operating and acquiring contracted clean energy projects. It is in the top 21% of the Zacks Industry Rank and has a VGM score of ‘A.’ The stock has a Zacks Rank #2.

Diamondback Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FANG – Free Report ): It is an oil and natural gas company in the top 20% of the Zacks Industry Rank. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2.

You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.

The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.

Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today .

About Screen of the Week

Zacks.com created the first and best screening system on the web earning the distinction as the "#1 site for screening stocks" by Money Magazine. But powerful screening tools is just the start. That is why Zacks created the Screen of the Week to highlight profitable stock picking strategies that investors can actively use. Each week, Zacks Profit from the Pros free email newsletter shares a new screening strategy. Learn more about it here https://at.zacks.com/?id=112

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Click here for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros .

Get the full Report on PBPB - FREE

Get the full Report on INGN - FREE

Get the full Report on SLCA - FREE

Get the full Report on NEP - FREE

Get the full Report on FANG - FREE

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZacksInvestmentResearch

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Contact: Jim Giaquinto

Company: Zacks.com

Phone: 312-265-9268

Email: pr@zacks.com

Visit: https://www.zacks.com/performance

Zacks.com provides investment resources and informs you of these resources, which you may choose to use in making your own investment decisions. Zacks is providing information on this resource to you subject to the Zacks "Terms and Conditions of Service" disclaimer. www.zacks.com/disclaimer .

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.


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
 
Potbelly Corporation (PBPB): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Inogen, Inc (INGN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. (SLCA): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NextEra Energy Partners, LP (NEP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Diamondback Energy, Inc. (FANG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.