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Autodesk Inc. (ADSK - Analyst Report) is set to report first-quarter 2015 results on May 15. Last quarter, the company posted a 33.33% positive surprise. The company has posted an average positive earnings surprise of 12.40% over the past four quarters. Year-to-date, Autodesk’s share price has decreased 1.9% compared with an increase of 3.6% for the S&P 500.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for this quarter:

Growth Factors This Past Quarter

Autodesk’s results are expected to benefit from the growth opportunities in the AEC and manufacturing markets. Strong momentum from the BIM product portfolio will help it to faster penetrate the $7.0 trillion construction market.

The company continues to win/expand deal in the domestic as well as international markets. European Union’s directive to its 28 member states recommending the use of BIM on public works projects is a major positive for Autodesk.

We believe that Autodesk’s new cloud-based offerings are gaining traction. Moreover, the company’s focus on expanding its mobile applications for both Apple’s (AAPL - Analyst Report) iOS and Google’s (GOOGL - Analyst Report) Android platform will boost its footprint in the consumer market.

However, sluggish macro-economic environment, weakness in emerging markets, customer concentration and increasing competition from Adobe (ADBE - Analyst Report) are the major concerns. Moreover, continued investments in new products are expected to hurt margins in the near term.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2014, Autodesk expects revenues in the range of $560.0–$575.0 million. Earnings (excluding stock-based compensation expense, amortization of intangibles and restructuring charges) are expected in the range of 19 to 22 cents for the to-be-reported quarter. This is higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 11 cents.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Autodesk is likely to beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive 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: Earnings ESP for Autodesk stands at 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at 11 cents.

Zacks Rank: Autodesk has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) which when combined with 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

We caution against stocks with Zacks Rank #4 and 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

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