We expect Exelon Corporation (EXC - Free Report) to pull off a positive earnings surprise when it reports fourth-quarter 2017 earnings on Feb 7. The utility reported a negative earnings surprise of 1.16% in the previous quarter.
Why a Likely Positive Surprise?
Our proven model shows that Exelon is likely to beat estimates because it has the right combination of two key ingredients. A stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) to be able to beat estimates and the company has the right mix.
You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.
Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP is +0.88%.
Zacks Rank: Exelon carries a Zacks Rank #3. The combination a favorable Zacks Rank and positive ESP makes us reasonably confident of a positive surprise this season.
Conversely, we caution against Sell-rated stocks (#4 or 5) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.
Factors to Consider
We believe that the rate hikes at Atlanta City Electric effective September 2017 along with increases in Pepco Maryland and Commonwealth Edison Company since the fourth quarter will have a positive impact on Exelon’s performance.
As Exelon’s free cash flow generation capacity is helping it lower long-term debt, we expect its outstanding debts to drop further in 2017. The company is also using free cash flow to increase quarterly dividend rate and increase value of its shareholders.
Also, Exelon is expected to benefit from its cost management initiatives.
Other Stocks to Consider
Exelon is not the only stock in the Zacks Utility Power industry that is expected to report a positive earnings surprise. Investors can also consider the following stocks from the same space this season.
NiSource Inc. (NI - Free Report) is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings on Feb 28. The company has a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of +1.45%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Dynegy Inc. (DYN - Free Report) is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings on Feb 22. The company has a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of +22.35%.
CenterPoint Energy Inc. (CNP - Free Report) is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings on Feb 22. The company has a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of +3.75%.
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