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Why the Earnings Surprise Streak Could Continue for Microsoft (MSFT)

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Looking for a stock that has been consistently beating earnings estimates and might be well positioned to keep the streak alive in its next quarterly report? Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , which belongs to the Zacks Computer - Software industry, could be a great candidate to consider.

This software maker has an established record of topping earnings estimates, especially when looking at the previous two reports. The company boasts an average surprise for the past two quarters of 8.69%.

For the last reported quarter, Microsoft came out with earnings of $1.13 per share versus the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.07 per share, representing a surprise of 5.61%. For the previous quarter, the company was expected to post earnings of $0.85 per share and it actually produced earnings of $0.95 per share, delivering a surprise of 11.76%.

Price and EPS Surprise

With this earnings history in mind, recent estimates have been moving higher for Microsoft. In fact, the Zacks Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) for the company is positive, which is a great sign of an earnings beat, especially when you combine this metric with its nice Zacks Rank.

Our research shows that stocks with the combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better produce a positive surprise nearly 70% of the time. In other words, if you have 10 stocks with this combination, the number of stocks that beat the consensus estimate could be as high as seven.

The Zacks Earnings ESP compares the Most Accurate Estimate to the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter; the Most Accurate Estimate is a version of the Zacks Consensus whose definition is related to change. The idea here is that analysts revising their estimates right before an earnings release have the latest information, which could potentially be more accurate than what they and others contributing to the consensus had predicted earlier.

Microsoft currently has an Earnings ESP of +1.90%, which suggests that analysts have recently become bullish on the company's earnings prospects. This positive Earnings ESP when combined with the stock's Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) indicates that another beat is possibly around the corner. We expect the company's next earnings report to be released on October 25, 2018.

With the Earnings ESP metric, it's important to note that a negative value reduces its predictive power; however, a negative Earnings ESP does not indicate an earnings miss.

Many companies end up beating the consensus EPS estimate, though this is not the only reason why their shares gain. Additionally, some stocks may remain stable even if they end up missing the consensus estimate.

Because of this, it's really important to check a company's Earnings ESP ahead of its quarterly release to increase the odds of success. Make sure to utilize our Earnings ESP Filter to uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they've reported.




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