Ball Corporation BLL is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2019 results on Feb 6, before the opening bell. Which Way are the Estimates Trending? The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Ball Corporation’s earnings per share is pegged at 68 cents for the December-end quarter, suggesting 23.6% year-over-year growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for total sales of $2.88 billion reflects year-over-year growth of 3%. Let’s see how things have shaped up prior to this announcement. Factors at Play Ball Corporation continues to execute its strategies of achieving better value for standard products and higher growth for specialty products. The company is focused on pursuing cost-out programs, completing growth capital projects and commercializing on the inherent sustainability attributes of metal packaging. These efforts are expected to have bolstered the company’s margin in the fourth quarter. Further, the company’s results will likely reflect the positive impact of solid demand for aluminum packaging and solid aerospace backlog. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the Beverage packaging, South America segment’s net sales is pegged at $495 million, calling for year-over-year growth of 4.8%. The segment’s operating income is pinned at $87 million, suggesting year-over-year growth of 11.5%. The segment is likely to have benefited from product launches for beer, wine, energy and still water in cans, as well as multiple brewery expansions during the October-December quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the Beverage packaging, Europe segment’s sales is pinned at $635 million for the fourth quarter, reflecting year-on-year growth of 1.8%. Segment operating income is projected at $69 million, calling for an improvement of 9.5% year over year. Customers’ growing preferences for cans, as well as increased production in new lines in the company’s existing facilities are anticipated to have aided the segment’s performance during the period under consideration. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the Aerospace segment's revenues is pinned at $418 million for the quarter under review, reflecting year-over-year increase of about 16.4%. The segment’s operating income is projected at $46.3 million, suggesting year-over-year growth of 21.8%. Robust aerospace backlog is likely to have contributed to the segment’s top-line growth during the quarter. The company is initiating additional products to expand aerospace infrastructure and testing capabilities. The Beverage packaging North and Central America segment are projected to report sales of $1,144 million, displaying a 2.8% year-over-year increase. Segment operating income is projected at $152 million, indicating year-over-year improvement of 18.7%. The segment is anticipated to have benefited from volume growth, product introductions and capacity expansion during the quarter to be reported. However, the business remains challenged with U.S. aluminum scrap headwinds. The segment is battling short-term costs due to tight inventories. Nonetheless, headwinds related to currency, higher freight rates are likely to have affected Ball Corporation’s performance in the December-end quarter. Ball Corporation Price and EPS Surprise Earnings Whispers Our proven model doesn’t conclusively predict an earnings beat for Ball Corporation this season. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the odds of an earnings beat. But that’s not the case here. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter. Earnings ESP: The Earnings ESP for Ball Corporation is -1.15%. Zacks Rank: Ball Corporation currently carries a Zacks Rank of 4 (Sell). Price Performance Shares of Ball Corporation have gained 38.9% in the past year, outperforming the industry's growth of 35.6%.
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