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Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC - Analyst Report) will release its fourth quarter 2012 financial results after market close on Feb 4, 2013. In the prior quarter, the oil and gas company reported an earnings surprise of 10.53%. Anadarko Petroleum currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Let’s see how things are shaping up at Anadarko Petroleum prior to this announcement.

Factors to Consider This Quarter

In Dec 2012, Anadarko signed a Heads of Agreement with Eni Spa (E - Analyst Report) to develop offshore natural gas resources in Mozambique. The agreement is in sync with Anadarko’s strategy to develop worldwide natural gas resources.

However, the depressed natural gas price environment in North America is likely to have a negative impact on the performance of Anadarko.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Anadarko Petroleum 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.

Zacks ESP: The Most Accurate estimate stands at 70 cents and the Zacks Consensus Estimate is also in line at 70 cents, resulting in 0.00% ESP.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Anadarko’s Zacks Rank #3 enhances the possibility of an earnings surprise. However the 0.00% ESP complicates the forecasting power making surprise prediction difficult.

We note that Anadarko registered an earnings surprise in the last four quarters. Even so we caution investors against the stock going into the earnings announcement, as a Zacks earnings ESP of 0.00% 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:

Breitburn Energy Partners L.P. (BBEP - Snapshot Report) has earnings ESP of +4.35% and carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Rex Energy Corporation (REXX - Snapshot Report) has earnings ESP of +25.00% and carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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