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Canadian handset manufacturer BlackBerry Limited (BBRY - Analyst Report) is scheduled to report fourth-quarter fiscal 2014 financial numbers before the opening bell on March 28, 2014.

In the last quarter, the company delivered a 45.7% negative earnings surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Influence This Quarter

In Dec 2013, BlackBerry entered into a 5-year agreement with the world's leading developer of electronic products and components, Foxconn. Such a strategic decision will help the company target the smartphone markets of Indonesia and other emerging nations. Foxconn will supply inventories for the smartphones at competitive rates, thereby improving margins for BlackBerry.

A major growth product for BlackBerry is its BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10) solution. This is a cross-platform product interoperable with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. BES10 provides flexibility, scalability, high security and cost-effectiveness to its customers.

However, BlackBerry is facing threats like an intensifying competitive landscape, a stagnant product portfolio and unfavourable product mix. The launch of Apple’s iPhone also came as a big blow. The situation aggravated once Google launched its Android software and several handset manufacturers adopted the operating system.

We remain concerned about BlackBerry’s decision to change the business model of its high-margin services fees segment. As per the new structure, only those subscribers, who opt for advanced services including greater security, will continue to pay service fees. However, the other customers will generate little or no service revenues.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that BlackBerry 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.

Zacks ESP: The Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are poised at a loss of $0.56. Hence, the ESP is 0.00%.

Zacks Rank: BlackBerry's Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) when combined with a Zacks Earnings ESP of 0.00% 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.

NII Holdings Inc. (NIHD - Analyst Report) with earnings ESP of +4.76% and a Zacks Rank #3.

Liberty Media Corporation (LMCA - Analyst Report) with earnings ESP of +2.89% and a Zacks Rank #3.

AT&T, Inc. (T - Analyst Report) with earnings ESP of +1.47% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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