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Pfizer (PFE - Analyst Report) is scheduled to report its fourth quarter 2012 results on Jan 29, 2013 before the opening bell.

Last quarter, the company posted a 1.92% positive surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up prior to the announcement.

Growth Factors this Past Quarter

Last quarter, Pfizer posted earnings, of 53 cents per share, a penny above the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, earnings fell 12% year over year. Results were hit by the loss of exclusivity of certain products and the unfavorable impact of currency fluctuation. We believe that the near-term earnings will be driven by cost cutting efforts and share repurchases. However, longer-term growth will depend on the success of drug development. The company’s pipeline needs to deliver given the Lipitor loss of exclusivity and the upcoming loss of exclusivity on additional products in the next few years.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Pfizer is likely to beat earnings this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method)and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or at least Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) or Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) for this to happen.This is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at 44 cents, which is in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. This implies an earnings ESP of 0.00%.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Pfizer carries a Zacks Rank of 3. The combination of Pfizer’s Zacks Rank # 3 and 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

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:

Sanofi (SNY - Analyst Report), Earnings ESP of +9.21% and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

Onyx Pharma Inc. , Earnings ESP of +21.43% and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold)

Astrazeneca (AZN - Analyst Report), Earnings ESP of +0.73% and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold)

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