The Q2 earnings season is in full swing with a deluge of companies reporting their financial numbers each day. The picture to have emerged so far is a rosy one with many companies reporting better-than-expected earnings per share. Moreover, the growth rate with respect to the bottom line is also a healthy one.
In fact, this healthy picture is unlikely to fade, with our latest Earnings Trends report suggesting that stocks in the much sought-after S&P 500 Index will end the current reporting cycle with bottom-line expansion of 8.6%. The same set of companies is projected to witness top-line growth to the tune of 4.7%.
Notably, 11 of the 16 Zacks sectors are expected to end Q2 in the green as far as bottom line expansion is concerned. One such sector is the highly diversified Transportation sector. The participants from this space are likely to end this quarter with the top and the bottom line expanding 9.6% and 6.9%, respectively. Both these figures compare favorably with the readings in Q1, when revenues grew 6.9% and earnings contracted 17.8%.
Significantly, multiple tailwinds like an improved economy, a better job market scenario and better unit revenue trends have contributed to this bullish picture for the sector. Already, this space has seen strong Q2 earnings reports from key players like Union Pacific Corporation (UNP - Free Report) , JetBlue Airways (JBLU - Free Report) and Kansas City Southern (KSU - Free Report) that have outperformed on both the fronts.
Given this backdrop, investors interested in the Transportation sector eagerly await the Q2 earnings releases by major sector participants like Southwest Airlines (LUV - Free Report) , United Parcel Service (UPS - Free Report) , Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. (ODFL - Free Report) and Spirit Airlines (SAVE - Free Report) on Jul 27.
According to our quantitative model, a company needs the right combination of two key ingredients – a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better – to increase the odds of an earnings surprise. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.
Dallas-based, Southwest Airlines is a low-cost carrier, which have lesser chances of beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in this quarter despite its Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). This is because it has an Earnings ESP of -1.67% as the Most Accurate estimate of $1.18 per share is pegged at 2 cents below the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Our model did not predict an earnings beat earlier as well. When we issued its Q2 earnings preview article, the company carried a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while the Earnings ESP remained the same. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
The next company is United Parcel Service, the world's largest express carrier and package delivery company. It provides specialized transportation and logistics services in the United States and internationally. The chances of the company beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in this quarter are also less. This is because it has an Earnings ESP of -0.69% as the Most Accurate estimate is $1.45, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.46. Moreover, it has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) (read more: Will High Costs Mar United Parcel's Q2 Earnings?).
Old Dominion Freight Line, a less-than-truckload multi-regional motor carrier, providing direct service throughout the United States. We expect the company to report better-than-expected earnings per share in this quarter. This is because it has an Earnings ESP of +0.92% as the Most Accurate estimate is at $1.10, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at a penny lower. Also, the company currently holds a Zacks Rank #2.
Finally, Spirit Airlines is a low-cost passenger carrier based in Miramar, FL. The chances of the company beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in this quarter are less, despite its Zacks Rank #3. This is because it has an Earnings ESP of -0.90% as the Most Accurate estimate of $1.10 per share is pegged at a penny below the Zacks Consensus Estimate (read more: What to Expect from Spirit Airlines in Q2 Earnings?).
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