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CR Bard Inc. (BCR - Analyst Report) is set to report its first-quarter 2014 operating results on April 22, 2014. Last quarter, the company had posted a 2.2% positive surprise. Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Disappointing Past Quarter

Although CR Bard's bottom line growth surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.2%, the company's earnings dropped 16.5% year over year to $1.42 in the reported quarter.

Revenues in the quarter increased marginally by 4% (both on reported and constant exchange rate or CER) to $791.3 million but beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $779.0 million. Adjusted gross margin fell 50 basis points (bps) to 60.8% due to negative impacts of pricing pressure, amortization and foreign currency.

However, management is optimistic about 2014-first quarter as it has predicted a 14–16% rise in adjusted earnings to $1.83-$1.87 per share for the quarter.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that CR Bard is likely to beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positiveEARNINGS ESP'> EARNINGS ESP and a Zacks Rank of #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP:  CR Bard has a negative Zacks ESP. That is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at $1.84 while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is higher at $1.86. That leads to a difference of -1.08%.

Zacks Rank: CR Bard's Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) when combined with a negative 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 this quarter:  

Align Technology Inc. (ALGN - Analyst Report), earnings ESP of +13.89% and Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)

Cardinal Health, Inc. (CAH - Analyst Report), earnings ESP of +1.00% and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

McKesson Corporation (MCK - Analyst Report), earnings ESP of +0.84% and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

About Earnings ESP

Would you like to own more stocks likely to beat their next earnings report? And avoid stocks likely to disappoint?

If yes, then it's time you learn about the Earnings ESP score available on Zacks.com.

Read the Full Research Report on BCR
Read the Full Research Report on ALGN
Read the Full Research Report on CAH
Read the Full Research Report on MCK


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