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Analyst Blog Inc. (PCLN - Analyst Report) is set to report fourth-quarter 2013 results on Feb 20. Last quarter, it posted a 6.6% positive surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Growth Factors this Past Quarter

Priceline’s share gains in both domestic and international markets led to higher sales growth rates in the third quarter of 2013. Also, overall bookings were up 6.4% sequentially and 37.4% year over year, reflecting improving demand environment. Gross margins expanded in the quarter, driven by higher revenues, increase in hotel room nights and improving average daily rates in the hotels business.

For the fourth quarter, Priceline expects revenues to increase 19–26% year over year, and pro-forma earnings per share within $7.80–$8.30. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fourth quarter is pegged at $7.66.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that will beat earnings 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.

Zacks ESP:  Both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at $7.66. Hence, the difference is 0.00%.

Zacks Rank: Priceline’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.

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:

Westlake Chemical Corp. (WLK - Snapshot Report), with Earnings ESP of +4.50% 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

ProAssurance Corporation (PRA - Analyst Report), with Earnings ESP of +13.59% and a Zacks Rank #1

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