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Ameren Corporation (AEE - Analyst Report) is slated to release its fourth quarter 2012 financial results before the market bell on Feb 20, 2013. In the last reported quarter, this utility company posted a negative surprise of 6.34%. Let’s see how things are shaping up at Ameren prior to this announcement.

Factors to Consider This Quarter

We believe the company’s several utility and natural gas pending rate cases could be an overhang on its operations. Also, the disappointing order issued by the Illinois Commerce Commission regarding electric rate delivery will impact the company’s margins.

However, the normal winter weather in the U.S. could temper the aforementioned negatives in the fourth quarter.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Ameren Corp. is likely to beat earnings this quarter. This 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 16 cents per share while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is substantially higher at 22 cents, resulting in -27.27% ESP.

Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy): Ameren’s Zacks Rank #1 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:

Dynegy Inc. (DYN - Snapshot Report) has earnings ESP of +75% and carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

PG&E Corporation (PCG - Analyst Report) has earnings ESP of +1.75% and carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

NV Energy Inc. has earnings ESP of +14.29% and carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
 

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