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Cloud computing has been one of the most well-known drivers of growth in the technology industry over the last few years. And while the likes of Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) , Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) , and Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) hog the headlines, IT behemoth Oracle (ORCL - Free Report) is currently one of the largest cloud computing firms in the world.

Oracle also competes directly with Salesforce (CRM - Free Report) and Workday (WDAY - Free Report) and has seen its cloud revenues climb recently. Last quarter, its cloud sales surged 44% to hit $1.5 billion.

In the current quarter, the company is expected to see its overall sales climb by 5.51% to hit $9.79 billion. Oracle is also projected to see its adjusted quarterly earnings hit $0.72 per share, which would mark 4.35% growth from the year-ago period. Still, investors need to consider a few more metrics to understand if the company is poised to top this estimate.

Luckily, Zacks Premium customers can utilize the Earnings ESP Screener in order to search for stocks that are expected to beat. Zacks Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) looks to find earnings surprises by focusing on the most recent analyst estimates.

This is done because, generally speaking, when an analyst posts an estimate right before an earnings release, it means that they have fresh information which could potentially be more accurate than what analysts thought about a company two or three months ago.

A positive Earnings ESP paired with a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better ranking helps us feel confident about the potential for an earnings beat. In fact, our 10-year backtest has revealed that this methodology has accurately produced a positive surprise 70% of the time.

Oracle currently has an Earnings ESP of 0.79%, which means earnings estimates have been higher directly ahead of ORCL’s Q3 results. When paired with the company’s current Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) standing, investors should consider the stock as one that could be poised to top estimates.

Investors should also note that Oracle has topped earnings estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, with an average surprise of 7.49%.

Oracle is set to report its Q3 fiscal 2018 earnings results after market close on Monday, March 19.

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