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Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO - Analyst Report), the operator of self-service retail discount store chains, is slated to report its first-quarter fiscal 2014 results on Jan 9, 2014. In the last quarter, it posted a positive surprise of 3.6%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors this Past Quarter

Family Dollar delivered better-than-expected fourth-quarter fiscal 2013 results. Consumables category was the driving factor behind the sturdy results. The strength witnessed in the Consumables category came on the back of robust growth across refrigerated and frozen food, health aids, and tobacco. Strong focus on consumables helped Family Dollar to drive business from budget-constrained consumers.

Earnings Whispers?

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

Negative Zacks ESP: ESP for Family Dollar is -2.90%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at 67 cents, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at 69 cents.

Zacks Rank #4 (Sell): Family Dollar’s Zacks Rank #4 when combined with a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult. We caution against stocks with a Zacks Ranks #4 and #5 (Sell rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.

Stocks that Warrant a Look

Here are some other companies you may want to consider as our model shows they have the right combination of elements:

American Express Company (AXP - Analyst Report) has an Earnings ESP of +1.59% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Dollar Tree, Inc. (DLTR - Analyst Report) has an Earnings ESP of +2.80% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Macy's, Inc. (M - Analyst Report) has an Earnings ESP of +1.84% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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