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Windstream Holdings, Inc. (WIN - Analyst Report) is slated to report its fourth-quarter 2013 results before the opening bell on Feb 27, 2014.

In the last quarter, the company delivered a 11.11% negative earnings surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Influence This Quarter

Wireless competition has resulted in a reduction in the company’s access lines, and brought about pricing pressure in the industry. As wireless carriers continue to expand and improve their network coverage while lowering their prices, some customers have chosen to switch to wireless service from traditional wireline phone service. This trend is expected to continue, thereby negatively affecting the number of served access lines of Windstream.

However, we appreciate Windstream’s focus on expanding its service offerings to businesses with VoIP services, data bundles, cloud and managed services; data center co-location; fiber transport as well as increasing distribution channels. The company has also announced its plan to expand its Carrier Switched Ethernet services across the U.S.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Windstream is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate 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. Unfortunately, this is not the case here as elaborated below. The Sell-rated stocks (#4 and 5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement.

Zero Zacks ESP: The Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are poised at $0.09. Hence, the ESP is 0.00%.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Windstream's Zacks Rank #3 decreases the predictive power of ESP.

We caution investors against the stock going into the earnings announcement, as a Zacks Earnings ESP of 0.00% combined with a Zacks Rank #3 lowers the possibility of an earnings surprise.

Other Stocks to Consider

Here are some other companies to consider as our model shows these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.

Akamai Technologies, Inc. (AKAM - Analyst Report) with earnings ESP of +2.27% and Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Equinix, Inc. (EQIX - Analyst Report) with earnings ESP of +6.41% and Zacks Rank #3.

CA Technologies (CA - Analyst Report) with earnings ESP of +1.72% and Zacks Rank #3.

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