Back to top

Bull of the Day

This page is temporarily not available.  Please check later as it should be available shortly. If you have any questions, please email customer support at support@zacks.com or call 800-767-3771 ext.  9339.

This article was edited by the author to clarify that the company has missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last 6 quarters.

EPAM Systems (EPAM - Snapshot Report) has a downright lousy history of beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate, but that could change. This custom IT services and solutions provider has cracked the code and is our Bull of the Day.

CFO Change

Normally, if I see a CFO is leaving a company I tend to sell first and ask questions later. In the case of EPAM Systems, their CFO is leaving and being replaced by the current VP of Finance and compliance officer. So congratulations to Anthony Conte, a six year veteran of the company who has a firm grasp of what is going on at EPAM.

Company Description

EPAM is an IT services and custom solutions provider. They offer software development services, engineering and custom solutions for medium and large businesses worldwide. The company primarily serves banking, financial services, business information, media, travel and hospitality industries. EPAM Systems, Inc. is headquartered in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

One Is The Loneliest Number of Beats

EPAM did beat the Zacks Consensus Estiamte once. But that was the first report that Zacks has data on for the December 2011 quarter. It was a $0.02 beat or 7% positive earnings surprise and that sent shares higher by more than 17% in the trading session following the report.

That beat was followed up with six consecutive earnings misses. A string that started with the March 2012 quarter and runs right through the September 2013 quarter. This has been a poor job of managing wall Street expectations on the part of management and the outgoing CFO.

Management Reboot, Guiding Higher

I noted that the company had cracked the code and investors should look forward to a positive earnings surprise on November 8, 2013 when they next report earnings. This proclamation is an easy one to make given the fact the company raised guidance on October 9, 2013 in the same announcement that detailed the management change.

Management knows that if you are going to guide higher, the worst thing you can do is then miss earnings. Analysts certainly don't expect the company to miss, and as a result of the increased guidance they have moved their EPS estimates higher.

Estimates Moving Higher

Even before the company raised its guidance, analysts saw some good things developing. The Zacks Consensus for the upcoming quarter stood at $0.33 in early August. By the middle of September, it had ticked higher by a penny. The increased guidance announcement sent shares to their current level of $0.35.

The following quarter has seen fractional moves higher in the consensus, so a slight increase by only one analyst could result in a higher consensus number.

Target Price Bumped Up

Stifel raised its target price on shares of EPAM from $38 to $42 as they believe there is potential upside. A key concern had been stability in margins, but the brokerage believes that concern could be reduced. They also pointed to the pre-announced earnings as a positive factor.

Valuation

The valuation for EPAM isn't what you would expect for a company that has had six straight earnings misses of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. A 31x trailing PE multiple is higher than the 24x industry average, just as the 29x forward multiple tops the 23x industry average. Price to book is mostly in line with the industry average but the price to sales multiple show EPAM trading at a discount to the industry average. With revenue growth for 2014 expected to be 20%, EPAM is growing much faster than the industry average of 7.8% and they are growing the bottom line faster too. The company is expected to produce nearly 25% growth in earnings next year compared to a 14% rate for the industry average.

The Chart

Normally a chart of the stock price is what helps wrap the story up, but I want to go a different direction with this one. Instead of stock price graph, I am showing a graph of the revenue over the last few quarters. This graph just what aggressive growth investors like to see, a nearly 45 degree angle. That sort of consistent growth, coupled with better managed expectations should make investors more willing to take a deeper look at EPAM.

Brian Bolan is a Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. He is the Editor in charge of the Zacks Home Run Investor service, a Buy and Hold service where he recommends the stocks in the portfolio.

Brian is also the editor of Breakout Growth Trader a trading service that focuses on small cap stocks and also carries a risk limiting strategy. Subscribers get daily emails along with buy, and sell alerts.

Follow Brian Bolan on twitter at @BBolan1

Like Brian Bolan on Facebook

Please login to Zacks.com or register to post a comment.

New to Zacks?

Start Here

Zacks Investment Research

Close

Are you a new Zacks Member or a visitor to Zacks.com?

Top Zacks Features

Learn more

Start for as little as $4.50 per trade.

My Portfolio Tracker

Is it Time to Sell?

One of the most important steps you can take today is to set up your portfolio tracker on Zacks.com. Once you do, you'll be notified of major events affecting your stocks and/or funds with daily email alerts.

More Zacks Resources

Zacks Rank Home - Evaluate your stocks and use the Zacks Rank to eliminate the losers and keep the winners.

Mutual Fund Rank Home - Evaluate your funds with the Mutual Fund Rank for both your personal and retirement funds.

Stock/Mutual Fund Screening - Find better stocks and mutual funds. The ones most likely to beat the market and provide a positive return.

My Portfolio - Track your Portfolio and find out where your stocks/mutual funds stack up with the Zacks Rank.

Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
DIXIE GRP IN DXYN 15.84 +7.90%
BOFI HLDG IN BOFI 85.30 +4.97%
RAMBUS INC RMBS 12.31 +4.41%
VIPSHOP HOLD VIPS 148.73 +4.35%
NETFLIX INC NFLX 345.74 +4.32%