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Will Equifax Inc. (EFX) Disappoint This Earnings Season?

ADP FISV EFX Z

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Equifax Inc. (EFX - Analyst Report) is set to report fourth-quarter fiscal 2013 results on Feb 12. Last quarter, it posted a positive surprise of 2.27%. Let us see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Consider This Past Quarter

Equifax posted mixed third-quarter results with the bottom line beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate but the top line missing the same. Nonetheless, the company’s revenues increased on a year-over-year basis aided by strong growth across its business segments.

Equifax’s focus on product innovation, broadening of data assets through acquisitions and continued share gains in North America are encouraging. We believe Equifax is well positioned to benefit from its leadership in important markets and strength in international markets.

Given the company’s strong correlation to consumer and financial markets as well as its U.S. and European exposure, we see a gradual improvement in results. Moreover, an improving mortgage environment is a big positive for the stock. However, competition from Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP - Snapshot Report), Fiserv Inc. (FISV - Analyst Report) and Moody’s Corp. is a concern.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Equifax is likely to beat earnings this quarter. A stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 to surpass earnings estimates. However, that is not the case here due to the following factors:

Zacks ESP: The expected surprise prediction for Equifax is 0.00% since both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at 91 cents per share.

Zacks Rank: Equifax’s Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) when combined with a 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

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.

Another Stock to Consider

Here is another company, which you may want to consider as our model shows that it has the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Zillow, Inc. (Z - Snapshot Report), with Earnings ESP of +20.00% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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