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Guess? Inc. (GES - Analyst Report) is set to report fourth quarter fiscal 2013 results on Mar 20. Last quarter it posted a 2.3% negative surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Growth Factors Past Quarter

Earnings remained within the guidance range in the third quarter, but dropped from the year-ago quarter primarily due to lower comparable store sales and higher merchandise expenses. Weak business in Europe was also a dampener.

Moreover, management hinted that international losses could increase due to higher costs related to incremental marketing expenses. Macroeconomic headwinds are expected to adversely affect comps even during the fourth quarter. Promotional expenses in North America, currency headwinds and lower mix of royalties are expected to restrict earnings in the future.

Earnings Whispers?

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fourth quarter stands at 86 cents while that for fiscal 2013 is pegged at $2.07.

Guess? missed estimates in the second and third quarters of fiscal 2013, while it surpassed in the first quarter and fourth quarter of 2012  with a trailing four-quarter average positive surprise of 3.7%.

There has been no estimate revision in the last 60 days. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate has remained unchanged for the fourth quarter as well as for 2013. Over the last 90 days, however, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 has fallen by a penny to 86 cents.

The lack of movement in estimates indicates a lack of catalysts during the quarter, meaning that the company is likely to report in line with expectations.

Moreover, the stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

We caution against stocks with Zacks Ranks #4 and #5 (Sell rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing a negative estimate revision momentum.

Other Stocks to Consider

Our model states that 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 to beat earnings estimates. You could, therefore, consider stocks like:

Hanesbrands Inc.  (HBI - Analyst Report), with Zacks Earnings ESP of 3.03% and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), and General Mills Inc. (GIS - Analyst Report) with Zacks Earnings ESP of 1.75% and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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