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Boston Properties Inc. (BXP - Analyst Report) is set to report its fourth-quarter 2013 results on Jan 28, after the closing bell. In the prior quarter, it delivered a positive earnings surprise of 0.78%. Also, the company has posted an average positive earnings surprise of 0.79% over the past four quarters.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model conclusively shows that Boston Properties will beat earnings because it has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Positive Zacks ESP:The company’s Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, stands at +0.81%. This is very meaningful and a leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise for shares.

Zacks Rank: Boston Properties carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Note that stocks with Zacks Ranks #1, 2 or 3 have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings.

This combination of Boston Properties’ Zacks Rank #3 and +0.81% Earnings ESP makes us confident about a positive earnings beat.

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

What is Driving the Better Than Expected Earnings?

Improved core operating fundamentals, ongoing successful portfolio repositioning activities and a strong balance sheet position with adequate liquidity are expected to lead to a positive earnings surprise in fourth-quarter 2013.

As a matter of fact, in the fourth quarter, Boston Properties rewarded its shareholders with the amount received from the disposition of 45% stake in the Time Square Tower property in October. In particular, the company has declared a special cash dividend of $2.25 per share, which will be paid on Jan 29, 2014 to stockholders of record as of Dec 31, 2013. This offered the company’s shareholders’ a reason to rejoice and helped raise their spirits.

Other Stocks to Consider

Boston Properties is not the only firm looking up this earnings season. Other stocks in the REIT sector that have both a positive Earnings ESP and a favorable Zacks Rank are:

General Growth Properties, Inc (GGP - Snapshot Report), with an Earnings ESP of +2.86% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is slated to report its fourth-quarter 2013 results on Feb 3.

Liberty Property Trust , with an Earnings ESP of +1.59% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company will report its fourth-quarter 2013 results on Feb 4.

Highwoods Properties Inc. (HIW - Analyst Report), with an Earnings ESP of +1.37% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The company is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter 2013 results on Feb 10.

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