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Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI - Analyst Report) is set to report its fourth quarter 2012 results on Feb 28. Last quarter, it posted a +1.23% surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Growth Factors This Past Quarter

CBI benefited from the rising demand for energy infrastructure, particularly in the LNG, gas processing and oil sands markets. Projects from round the world drove the upside during the year.

Chicago Bridge & Iron is very positive about the increase in order activity in the LNG division. Further, the company delivered solid third-quarter performance with earnings increasing 13.9% year over year and revenues growing 15.0%.  

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Chicago Bridge is likely to beat earnings this 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 of #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Positive Zacks ESP:  That is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at $0.82 while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is higher at $0.83. That is a difference of -1.21%.

Zacks #3 Rank (Hold): Chicago Bridge & Iron’s Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) lowers the predictive power of ESP because the Zacks #2 Rank when combined with a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult. We caution against stocks with Zacks #4 and #5 Ranks (Sell rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.

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:  

Aecom Technology Corp. (ACM - Analyst Report), with Earnings ESP of +1.92% and Zacks #2 Rank (Buy)

Urs Corp (URS - Analyst Report), with Earnings ESP of +8.57%and Zacks #3 Rank (Hold)

Sterling Constructions (STRL - Snapshot Report), with Earnings ESP of +50.0% and Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

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