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On Nov 5, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Stantec Inc. (STN - Snapshot Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Stantec has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong third-quarter 2013 results.

Stantec reported third-quarter 2013 (ended Sep 30) results on Oct 31. Earnings per share came in at 98 cents, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 78 cents and the year-ago figure of 74 cents.

Earnings were primarily aided by top-line growth of 21.3% and increased activity in the company’s environmental services, industrial as well as transportation sectors. The environmental services and industrial service businesses benefited from a strong end market. Strong momentum in the oil and gas sector enabled the company to win several projects for major pipelines and associated facilities across Canada.

Most of the estimates for 2013 and 2014 were revised higher on the back of strong third-quarter results. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 6.3 % to $3.02 from $2.84 per share due to higher estimates revision over the last 7 days. Additionally, for 2014, analysts modified their predictions over the past week, and lifted the Zacks Consensus Estimate to $3.40 per share from $3.22.

Moreover, this well-known technical services firm delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with average earnings beat of 12.23%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is currently pegged at 18%.     

Other Stocks to Consider

The following business service firms are performing well and also have a favorable Zacks Rank:

1)      CoreLogic, Inc. (CLGX - Snapshot Report) which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)

2)      Corporate Executive Board Co. (CEB - Snapshot Report) which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

3)      Exponent Inc. (EXPO - Snapshot Report) which holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

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