Earnings are arguably the most important single number on a company's quarterly financial report. Wall Street clearly dives into all of the other metrics and management's input, but the EPS figure helps cut through all the noise.
The earnings figure itself is key, of course, but a beat or miss on the bottom line can sometimes be just as, if not more, important. Therefore, investors should consider paying close attention to these earnings surprises, as a big beat can help a stock climb and vice versa.
The ability to identify stocks that are likely to top quarterly earnings expectations can be profitable, but it's no simple task. Here at Zacks, our Earnings ESP filter helps make things easier.
The Zacks Earnings ESP, Explained
The Zacks Earnings ESP, or Expected Surprise Prediction, aims to find earnings surprises by focusing on the most recent analyst revisions. The basic premise is that if an analyst reevaluates their earnings estimate ahead of an earnings release, it means they likely have new information that could possibly be more accurate.
The core of the ESP model is comparing the Most Accurate Estimate to the Zacks Consensus Estimate, where the resulting percentage difference between the two equals the Expected Surprise Prediction. The Zacks Rank is also factored into the ESP metric to better help find companies that appear poised to top their next bottom-line consensus estimate, which will hopefully help lift the stock price.
Bringing together a positive earnings ESP alongside a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better has helped stocks report a positive earnings surprise 70% of the time. Furthermore, by using these parameters, investors have seen 28.3% annual returns on average, according to our 10 year backtest.
Stocks with a ranking of #3 (Hold), or 60% of all stocks covered by the Zacks Rank, are expected to perform in-line with the broader market. Stocks with rankings of #2 (Buy) and #1 (Strong Buy), or the top 15% and top 5% of stocks, respectively, should outperform the market; Strong Buy stocks should outperform more than any other rank.
Should You Consider Lam Research?
Now that we understand what the ESP is and how beneficial it can be, let's dive into a stock that currently fits the bill.
Lam Research ( earns a #3 (Hold) right now and its Most Accurate Estimate sits at $9.55 a share, just 19 days from its upcoming earnings release on October 19, 2022. LRCX Quick Quote LRCX - Free Report)
Lam Research's Earnings ESP sits at +0.2%, which, as explained above, is calculated by taking the percentage difference between the $9.55 Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9.53. LRCX is also part of a large group of stocks that boast a positive ESP. Make sure to utilize our
Earnings ESP Filter to uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they've reported.
LRCX is just one of a large group of Computer and Technology stocks with a positive ESP figure.
Adobe Systems ( is another qualifying stock you may want to consider. ADBE Quick Quote ADBE - Free Report)
Adobe Systems, which is readying to report earnings on December 15, 2022, sits at a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) right now. It's Most Accurate Estimate is currently $3.50 a share, and ADBE is 76 days out from its next earnings report.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Adobe Systems is $3.49, and when you take the percentage difference between that number and its Most Accurate Estimate, you get the Earnings ESP figure of +0.12%.
LRCX and ADBE's positive ESP metrics may signal that a positive earnings surprise for both stocks is on the horizon.
Find Stocks to Buy or Sell Before They're Reported
Use the Zacks Earnings ESP Filter to turn up stocks with the highest probability of positively, or negatively, surprising to buy or sell before they're reported for profitable earnings season trading.
Check it out here >>