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Intuit Inc. (INTU - Snapshot Report) is set to report first-quarter fiscal 2014 results on Nov 21. Last quarter, it posted a negative surprise of 22.2%. Let us see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors This Past Quarter

Intuit reported wider-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter of 2013 and its revenues lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, revenues increased year over year, primarily driven by strong performance of its business segments, higher costs led to contraction of margins and the subsequent decline in profits.

We are positive on Intuit’s growing SMB (small & medium business) exposure and believe that the Demandforce acquisition will continue to support the segment. The company’s is focusing on revamping its products with new mobile design. Its TurboTax solutions help customers to prepare and file online tax returns via tablet, mobile phone or desktop computers. These new offerings are expected to increase its customer base going forward.

Additionally, Intuit is moving to additional open platforms with application programming interfaces that help to solve problems faster and more efficiently. However, stiff competition from the leading payroll solution provider, Paychex Inc. (PAYX - Snapshot Report), in the SMB arena, seasonality of Intuit’s tax business and the ongoing uncertainty in the economy concern us.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively project Intuit as likely to beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank of #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Negative Zacks ESP:  ESP for Intuit is -10.0%. This is because the Most Accurate Estimate is pegged at a loss of 22 cents while the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at a loss of 20 cents.

Zacks Rank: Intuit’s Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) when combined with a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

We caution against stocks with Zacks Rank #4 and 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into an earnings announcement, especially when the company is witnessing negative estimate revisions momentum.

Other Stocks to Consider

Here are some other companies you may want to consider as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY - Analyst Report), with Earnings ESP of +9.09% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

TiVo Inc. (TIVO - Analyst Report), with Earnings ESP of +16.67% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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