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Intuit Inc. (INTU - Snapshot Report) is set to report fourth quarter 2013 results after the closing bell on Aug 20. Last quarter, it posted a 0.7% positive surprise with a trailing four-quarter average negative surprise of 46.2%. Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Growth Factors this Past Quarter

Intuit’s third quarter revenue growth was mostly driven by strength across all the segments, particularly from Small Business Group and Consumer Tax.

Small Business Group revenues surged 17.0% year over year based on the strength of the group’s sub-segments and the synergies from the acquisition of Demandforce in May 2012.

The Consumer Tax segment posted 14.0% revenue growth due to higher TurboTax units sold and a revenue shift (roughly $140.0 million) from the second quarter. Despite a challenging tax season, Intuit managed to acquire new customers and boost mobile adoption.

Gross margin improved due to higher revenues and cost optimization initiatives.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Intuit will beat earnings estimates this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) and a Zacks Rank #1, #2 or #3 for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Negative Zacks ESP: That is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at 12 cents loss per share while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is at 9 cents loss per share. That is a difference of -33.3%.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Intuit has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The Zacks Rank #3 when combined with a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult. But we caution against stocks with Zacks Ranks #4 and #5 (Sell rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.

Other Stocks to Consider

Investors can consider other stocks with a positive ESP and Zacks Rank:

Donnelley , with Earnings ESP of +2.5% and Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ - Analyst Report), with Earnings ESP of +2.3% and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC - Analyst Report), with Earnings ESP of +1.2% and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

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