The Q3 earnings season is drawing to a close, with 423 of the S&P 500 Index members having released results so far. Reported earnings were up 3.6% year over year on 2.4% higher revenues. This week too will see a string of earnings releases from more than 650 companies (including 31 S&P members).
Overall, for the S&P 500 members, projections are of a 3% improvement in earnings on 1.5% higher revenues despite an expected 63.5% plunge in earnings on 12.2% revenue deterioration in the energy space. Notably, this could be the first quarter to record positive earnings growth after five quarters of back-to-back declines.
Four out of the 16 sectors in the Zacks coverage universe are expected to witness an earnings decline this season. Read more details in our weekly Earnings Preview report.
Let us focus on gas utility space, wherein production of shale gas in the U.S. has been on the rise over the last few years, thanks to the successful use of hydraulic fracturing technology. Note that the ongoing shift in preference for natural gas is part of government’s endeavor to lower emission.
As per a U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) release of Oct 28, 2016, natural gas storage level in the U.S. was 3,963 billion cubic feet (bcf), up 1.2% from the year-ago level and 4.6% above the five-year average. However, higher production of natural gas and increase in storage volumes has been taking a toll on its prices.
In the third quarter of 2016, overall utility earnings are expected to be up 16.3% on 5.3% higher revenues. Keeping in mind the optimistic outlook for the utility sector, let’s take a look at a few gas utilities that are scheduled to report earnings on Nov 9.
UGI Corporation (UGI - Free Report) reported a positive earnings surprise of 187.50% in the previous quarter. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
UGI Corporation’s Earnings ESP , which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate of a loss of 4 cents and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 5 cents, is +20.00%. According to our proven model, stocks with the combination of a positive ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), #2 (Buy) or #3 have increased chances of beating estimates.
Atmos Energy Corporation (ATO - Free Report) reported a positive earnings surprise of 13.56% in the previous quarter. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Atmos Energy has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% as both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at 31 cents.
Just Energy Group Inc. (JE - Free Report) reported a positive earnings surprise of 20.00% in the previous quarter. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3.
Where Do Zacks' Investment Ideas Come From?
You are welcome to download the full, up-to-the-minute list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buy" stocks free of charge. There is no better place to start your own stock search. Plus you can access the full list of must-avoid Zacks Rank #5 "Strong Sells" and other private research. See the stocks free >>