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Philip Morris (PM) Queued for Q3 Earnings: Things to Note

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Philip Morris International Inc. (PM - Free Report) is likely to display year-over-year growth in the top and bottom lines, when it reports third-quarter 2021 numbers on Oct 19. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is pegged at $7,847 million, suggesting a rise of 5.4% from the prior-year quarter’s reported figure.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings has moved 1.3% south over the past seven days to $1.54 per share, which, however, indicates an increase of 8.5% from the figure reported in the prior-year period. In the last reported quarter, the company delivered an earnings surprise of nearly 2%. This tobacco giant has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 5.2%, on average.

Key Factors to Note

Philip Morris has been benefiting from its strong pricing power, which has been aiding the company’s adjusted operating income. Though a higher pricing might lead to a possible decline in cigarette consumption, it is seen that smokers tend to absorb price increases owing to the addictive quality of cigarettes. We note that the higher pricing at the combustible tobacco portfolio has been aiding the company’s performance for a while.

The company’s focus on business transformation, given consumers’ inclination toward low-risk, reduced risk products (RRPs) has been working well. Notably, 13.5% of shipment volumes and 30% of net revenues came from smoke-free products as of the end of second-quarter 2021. Philip Morris is well placed toward becoming a majority smoke-free company by 2025. Toward this end, the company’s IQOS, a heat-not-burn device, counts amongst one of the leading RRPs in the industry.  The company expects such advanced and high-quality products to aid adult smokers switch from traditional cigarettes to smoke-free options. In fact, the total users of IQOS as of the end of the second quarter were estimated to be about 20.1 million, including roughly 14.7 million users who have shifted from smoking to IQOS.  The company predicts consistent growth in the heated tobacco category, and therefore, has been committed toward expanding these products.

That said, the receding cigarette market share has been a headwind for Philip Morris.  This can be attributed to consumers’ rising health consciousness as well as the shift to low-risk tobacco alternatives. Apart from these, on its second-quarter 2021 earnings call, management highlighted that it does not expect a near-term recovery in the duty-free business due to the travel-related uncertainties amid the coronavirus pandemic. Management had said that it expects the existing dynamics to prevail through the remaining of 2021.

What the Zacks Model Unveils

Our proven model doesn’t conclusively predict an earnings beat for Philip Morris this time around. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP, and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold), increases the odds of an earnings beat. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Philip Morris currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 and has an Earnings ESP of -0.39%.

Stocks With Favorable Combinations

Here are some companies you may want to consider, as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this season.

Hershey (HSY - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +1.02% and carries a Zacks Rank #2, at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Estee Lauder Companies (EL - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +0.24% and currently holds a Zacks Rank #2.

The Coca-Cola Company (KO - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +0.75% and carries a Zacks Rank #2, currently.