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Eastman Chemical (EMN): Will FX, Weak Price Hit Q1 Earnings?

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Eastman Chemical (EMN - Free Report) is set to release its first-quarter 2016 results after the bell on Apr 28.

In the last quarter, the chemical maker delivered a 2.58% positive earnings surprise. Its profits surged in the quarter, helped by contributions of acquisitions, cost-saving actions and higher volumes in its specialty businesses. But lower pricing and unfavorable currency translation hurt its revenues that missed expectations.

Eastman Chemical has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing 4 quarters with an average beat of 7.41%. Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Watch For

Eastman Chemical, in its last earnings call, said that it is seeing increased challenges in 2016, stemming from a sluggish global economy, lower crude oil prices and weakening currencies across Asia and Europe. The company is looking to deliver adjusted earnings per share for 2016 that approach the level achieved in 2015 amid the prevailing business environment.

Eastman Chemical faces currency headwinds given the strengthening of the U.S. dollar vis-à-vis a basket of currencies, especially euro. The company saw around 60 cents per share currency headwinds in 2015 with similar impact expected this year. Unfavorable currency translation weighed on its top line in the last reported quarter and is expected to continue to affect results in the March quarter.

Moreover, the company still faces pricing pressure across most of its businesses. Soft pricing, partly due to competitive pressure, is affecting the company’s Adhesives and Plasticizers segment. Moreover, lower selling prices of propylene and ethylene are impacting results in the specialty fluids and intermediates division. The Fibers segment is also expected to witness price declines this year due to lower pulp prices and weakening currencies. Lower oil prices have led to increased pricing pressure for the company’s olefin and acetyl products.

Nevertheless, Eastman Chemical should gain from synergies of acquisitions (especially Taminco), capacity additions and cost-cutting actions. The company’s productivity and cost reduction actions are expected to add roughly 50 cents per share to its earnings in 2016. Some benefits of these actions are expected in the to-be-reported quarter.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Eastman Chemical will beat earnings estimates this quarter. A stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Negative Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP for Eastman Chemical is -1.96%. This is because the Most Accurate Estimate stands at $1.50, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.53.

Zacks Rank: Eastman Chemical has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). We caution against stocks with Zacks Rank #4 and 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks That Warrant a Look
Here are some stocks in the basic materials space that you may want to consider, as our model shows they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (APD - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +0.56% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (SMG - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +1.21% and a Zacks Rank #2.

The Dow Chemical Company (DOW - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +1.21% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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