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When companies report their earnings every quarter they can surprise the market with a terrific report that causes the share value to rise sharply, pricing in the good news. If you believe that companies can consistently surprise the market, you may be interested in this list.

We sorted through a list of stocks reporting earnings next week for those with a history of surprising the market with positive earnings reports, with an average earnings surprise of at least 5% over the last five quarterly reports.

We list the 7 qualifying stocks below with notable trends that may help (or hinder) chances of continuing their streak.

Do you believe these names have what it takes to continue surprising for another reporting period? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in changes in analyst rating. Ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

1. Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ:APOL): Provides educational programs and services at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels.

  • Market cap at $1.9B, most recent closing price at $16.90.
  • Earnings date: March 25
  • In Feb 2012: Reported EPS at 0.58 vs. estimate at 0.37 (surprise of 56.8%). In May 2012: Reported EPS at 1.2 vs. estimate at 0.97 (surprise of 23.7%). In Aug 2012: Reported EPS at 0.52 vs. estimate at 0.49 (surprise of 6.1%). In Nov 2012: Reported 1.22 vs. estimate at 0.9 (surprise of 35.6%. [Average earnings surprise at 30.55%].
  • Despite these encouraging numbers the market has not been kind to Apollo. The stock has returned -12.48% since 2/19/13, and is one of the worst performing stocks in the education and training service industry. The stock is falling behind companies like K12, Inc. (NYSE:LRN) and The Washington Post Company (WPO), which returned 6.16% and 5.30% during the same time period.

2. Dollar General Corporation (NYSE:DG): Operates as a discount retailer of general merchandise in the southern, southwestern, midwestern, and eastern United States.

  • Market cap at $16.37B, most recent closing price at $49.81.
  • Earnings date: March 25
  • In Jan 2012: Reported EPS at 0.87 vs. estimate at 0.82 (surprise of 6.1%). In Apr 2012: Reported EPS at 0.63 vs. estimate at 0.6 (surprise of 5%). In Jul 2012: Reported EPS at 0.69 vs. estimate at 0.64 (surprise of 7.8%). In Oct 2012: Reported 0.63 vs. estimate at 0.6 (surprise of 5%. [Average earnings surprise at 5.98%].
  • DG has a higher than average projected earnings growth rate over the next 5 years (17.70%). This is higher than the likes of Target Corp. (projected EPS growth over next 5 years at 11.53%) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (projected EPS growth over next 5 years at 8.43%).
  • Meanwhile, hedge funds have not been so optimistic: Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -36.3M shares, which represents about 12.23% of the company's float of 296.82M shares.

3. Focus Media Holding Ltd. (NASDAQ:FMCN): Operates out-of-home advertising network using audiovisual digital displays in China.

  • Market cap at $3.46B, most recent closing price at $26.18.
  • Earnings date: March 25
  • In Dec 2011: Reported EPS at 0.7 vs. estimate at 0.61 (surprise of 14.8%). In Mar 2012: Reported EPS at 0.46 vs. estimate at 0.43 (surprise of 7%). In Jun 2012: Reported EPS at 0.62 vs. estimate at 0.59 (surprise of 5.1%). In Sep 2012: Reported 0.71 vs. estimate at 0.7 (surprise of 1.4%. [Average earnings surprise at 7.08%].
  • The company has reported strong earnings growth over the last year, with EPS growing by 69.48%, higher than competitors like Omnicom Group Inc. (EPS growth over the last year at 8.70%) and WPP plc (EPS growth over the last year at -2.76%).

4. Landec Corp. (NASDAQ:LNDC): Designs, develops, manufactures, and sells polymer products for food and agricultural products, medical devices products, and licensed partner applications incorporating patented polymer technologies.

  • Market cap at $313.48M, most recent closing price at $12.16.
  • Earnings date: March 26
  • In Feb 2012: Reported EPS at 0.18 vs. estimate at 0.13 (surprise of 38.5%). In May 2012: Reported EPS at 0.11 vs. estimate at 0.09 (surprise of 22.2%). In Aug 2012: Reported EPS at 0.17 vs. estimate at 0.08 (surprise of 112.5%). In Nov 2012: Reported 0.34 vs. estimate at 0.16 (surprise of 112.5%. [Average earnings surprise at 71.43%].
  • The company has reported strong earnings growth over the last year, with EPS growing by 230.08%, higher than competitors like Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (EPS growth over the last year at -10.72%) and E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (EPS growth over the last year at -21.04%).

5. Signet Jewelers Limited (NYSE:SIG): Operates as a specialty jewelry retailer in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and the Channel Islands.

  • Market cap at $5.03B, most recent closing price at $61.83.
  • Earnings date: March 28
  • In Jan 2012: Reported EPS at 1.79 vs. estimate at 1.77 (surprise of 1.1%). In Apr 2012: Reported EPS at 0.96 vs. estimate at 0.91 (surprise of 5.5%). In Jul 2012: Reported EPS at 0.85 vs. estimate at 0.83 (surprise of 2.4%). In Oct 2012: Reported 0.43 vs. estimate at 0.37 (surprise of 16.2%. [Average earnings surprise at 6.3%].
  • Meanwhile, Signet Jewelers has seen some troubling accounting trends that could catch up with them: Revenue grew by 0.8% during the most recent quarter ($716.2M vs. $710.5M y/y). Accounts receivable grew by 13.51% during the same time period ($1,042.8M vs. $918.7M y/y). Receivables, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 33.04% to 37.53% during the most recent quarter (comparing 13 weeks ending 2012-10-27 to 13 weeks ending 2011-10-29).
  • Inventory grew by 6.68% during the same time period ($1,508.5M vs. $1,414M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, increased from 50.86% to 54.29% during the most recent quarter (comparing 13 weeks ending 2012-10-27 to 13 weeks ending 2011-10-29).

6. UniFirst Corp. (NYSE:UNF): Provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

  • Market cap at $1.75B, most recent closing price at $87.57.
  • Earnings date: March 27
  • In Feb 2012: Reported EPS at 0.96 vs. estimate at 0.89 (surprise of 7.9%). In May 2012: Reported EPS at 1.16 vs. estimate at 0.99 (surprise of 17.2%). In Aug 2012: Reported EPS at 1.13 vs. estimate at 1.02 (surprise of 10.8%). In Nov 2012: Reported 1.54 vs. estimate at 1.33 (surprise of 15.8%. [Average earnings surprise at 12.92%].
  • UniFirst has also shown encouraging inventory turnover trends: Revenue grew by 6.25% during the most recent quarter ($332.57M vs. $313.02M y/y). Inventory grew by 2.07% during the same time period ($75.31M vs. $73.78M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 17.63% to 13.96% during the most recent quarter (comparing 13 weeks ending 2012-11-24 to 13 weeks ending 2011-11-26).

7. Verint Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:VRNT): Provides actionable intelligence solutions and value-added services worldwide.

  • Market cap at $1.83B, most recent closing price at $34.92.
  • Earnings date: March 27
  • In Jan 2012: Reported EPS at 0.75 vs. estimate at 0.68 (surprise of 10.3%). In Apr 2012: Reported EPS at 0.53 vs. estimate at 0.49 (surprise of 8.2%). In Jul 2012: Reported EPS at 0.58 vs. estimate at 0.51 (surprise of 13.7%). In Oct 2012: Reported 0.63 vs. estimate at 0.59 (surprise of 6.8%. [Average earnings surprise at 9.75%].
  • The company has reported strong earnings growth over the last year, with EPS growing by 83.27%, higher than competitors like Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (EPS growth over the last year at 12.08%) and Citrix Systems, Inc. (EPS growth over the last year at -0.27%).

*EPS and price data sourced from Yahoo! Finance, hedge fund data from Fidelity, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 7 Stocks Reporting Earnings This Week With A History Of Positive Surprises