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Trimble Navigation (TRMB - Analyst Report) is set to report fourth-quarter 2013 results on Feb 11. Last quarter, it posted 9.1% positive surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Growth Factors this Past Quarter

Trimble’s third-quarter earnings of 36 cents exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents due to higher gross margins and lower-than-expected operating expenses. However, revenues in the last quarter were impacted by inconsistent market conditions and weak investments, partially offset by the strengthening U.S. commercial and residential construction markets.

Trimble’s recent acquisitions are strengthening its product portfolio which in turn is positioning it better in markets with substantial growth prospects.

For the fourth quarter, Trimble expects revenues in the range of $560–$580 million. Earnings on a GAAP basis are expected in the range of 17 cents–21 cents per share and 35 cents–39 cents per share on a non-GAAP basis.

Earnings Whispers?

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

Zacks ESP:  Both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at 33 cents. Hence, the difference is 0.00%.

Zacks Rank: Trimblehas a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) which, when combined with a 0.00% 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.

Other Stocks to Consider

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

Melco Crown Entertainment Limited (MPEL - Snapshot Report), with Earnings ESP of +7.50% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Ship Finance International Limited (SFL - Snapshot Report), with Earnings ESP of +52.63% and a Zacks Rank #1.

Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (SLXP - Analyst Report), with Earnings ESP of +18.75% and a Zacks Rank #1.

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