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DirecTV (DTV - Analyst Report) is set to release its fourth-quarter 2012 results before the market opens on Thursday, Feb 14, 2013.

In the preceding quarter, DirecTV delivered a negative earnings surprise of 2.17%. Out of the last four quarters, the company twice reported negative earnings surprises. Let’s see how things are shaping up prior to the announcement.

Factors to Consider This Quarter

DirecTV is well positioned for long-term growth based on huge subscriber growth in Latin America, increased ARPU in the U.S. new product launch and settlement of fee related issues with Viacom.

However, sluggish economic growth and competitive threats to the pay-TV industry may act as headwinds for the company moving ahead.

Over the last 7 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fourth quarter has remained flat at $1.15 per share.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that DirecTV is likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the fourth quarter. That 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. Unfortunately this is not the case here as elaborated below.

Negative Zacks ESP: This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at $1.13 while the Zacks Consensus is higher at $1.15. This results in a difference of -1.74%.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): DirecTV’s Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), however, increases the predictive power of ESP. That said we also need to have a positive ESP to be confident of an earnings surprise call.

Other Stocks to Consider

Here are some other companies you may want to consider on the basis of our model, which shows they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Comcast Corporation (CMCSA - Analyst Report) has earnings ESP of +1.89% and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). It is scheduled to report its fourth quarter results on Feb 13.

Cablevision Systems Corporation (CVC - Analyst Report) is scheduled to release its fourth quarter results on Feb 12. It has earnings ESP of +10.00% and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Shaw Communications, Inc. (SJR - Analyst Report) has earnings ESP of + 2.70% and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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