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Consulting and outsourcing services provider, Accenture (ACN - Analyst Report), is slated to release fiscal first-quarter 2014 results on Dec 19, 2013, before market opens. Last quarter, it posted a positive earnings surprise of 1.00%. Let us see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors this Past Quarter

Increasing focus on the outsourcing business, operating cost optimization, new bookings and continued return to shareholders are expected to remain the quarter’s positives. Moreover, Accenture’s strategic acquisitions will definitely diversify its service and product offerings and expand its operating markets. Accenture is regularly enhancing its client base, which has helped it to record strong bookings and witness robust growth across insurance, banking and healthcare segments.

However, the challenging macroeconomic environment and constricted spending from clients could pose headwinds for Accenture. Moreover, competition from Cognizant (CTSH - Analyst Report) and International Business Machines Corp (IBM - Analyst Report) are expected to remain the headwinds, going forward.

Earnings Whispers?

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

Zacks ESP:  Both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at $1.09. Hence, the difference is 0.00%.

Zacks Rank #4 (Sell): We caution against stocks with Zacks Ranks #4 and 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement.

Another company that you may want to consider as our model shows that it has the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat in the imminent future is:

Winnebago Industries Inc. (WGO - Snapshot Report), with Earnings ESP of +10.26% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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