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Dominion Resources Inc. (D - Snapshot Report) is slated to release its fourth quarter 2012 financial results before the market bell on Jan 31, 2013. In the last quarter, the power generation, distribution and transmission company posted a negative surprise of 5.15%. Let’s see how things are shaping up at Dominion prior to this announcement.

Factors to Consider This Quarter

The expectation of normal winter will definitely benefit Dominion and the successful outcome of the Virginia Fuel rate case will also boost the top line. The growth projects which were completed at Dominion Energy are likely to add to revenue.

However, we need to watch out for lower merchant generation margins and a higher tax rate. The regular operations during the quarter were disrupted by Hurricane Sandy, which will definitely have an impact on the quarterly performance.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Dominion Resource is likely to beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive earnings Expected Surprise Prediction (ESP) (Read:Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) and a Zacks Rank of #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. This is not the case here.

Negative Zacks ESP: This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at 62 cents while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is higher at 67 cents, resulting in -7.46% ESP.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Dominion’s Zacks Rank #3 when combined with negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult. We caution investors against the stock going into the earnings announcement, as a negative Zacks ESP lowers the possibility of an earnings surprise.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other companies you may want to consider on the basis of our model which shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter are as follows:

PG&E Corporation (PCG - Analyst Report) has earnings ESP of +1.72% and carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (CLNE - Snapshot Report) has earnings ESP of +87.50% and carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Teco Energy Inc. (TE - Analyst Report) has earnings ESP of +14.29% and carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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