Construction sector is expected to have performed pretty well in first-quarter 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic. Notably, the first two months of the quarter are expected to have delivered solid performance backed by robust housing market dynamics and increased public sector construction activity. The dampening effects of COVID-19 were only felt in the latter part of the quarter, precisely March. A number of project awards across multiple business segments — including large transportation and highway projects, communications, transmission and power, and infrastructural projects in domestic as well as international markets — and strong pricing are likely to have contributed to growth in the quarter. In the residential construction space, lower mortgage rates, reduced construction costs, low unemployment and rising wages are expected to have somewhat offset headwinds like rising land and labor costs, shortage of home supplies, well as as the coronavirus-induced outbreak. Record low inventory level continues to be a potent headwind that has been deterring prospective buyers, especially first-timers. However, widespread slowdown in economic activity owing to the coronavirus outbreak began to adversely affect companies' business operations and demand for homes in the latter part of March, stretching into April. Due to weakening business conditions, order cancellation rate in March was intensified. Notable Releases So Far Some notable construction companies like Lennar ( LEN Quick Quote LEN - Free Report) , KB Home ( KBH Quick Quote KBH - Free Report) and Fastenal ( FAST Quick Quote FAST - Free Report) recently released their quarterly numbers. Fastenal’s first-quarter 2020 revenues and earnings topped the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate despite persistant decline in activity levels. The company stated that the activity levels weakened significantly in the second half of March, in response to societal actions that were undertaken to address the coronavirus pandemic. Lennar’s first-quarter fiscal 2020 earnings also topped analysts’ expectation, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of an earnings beat. KB Home also came out with impressive first-quarter fiscal 2020 results, wherein earnings and revenues topped the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate, and registered notable improvement on a year-over-year basis. Overall Prediction Per the latest Earnings Outlook, construction sector earnings are expected to grow 15.4% in first-quarter 2020 compared with 9.6% growth in fourth-quarter 2019. Revenues are projected to increase 12.4% versus 3.1% growth in the prior quarter. A Few Construction Stocks to Watch Let’s take a quick glance at how the following construction stocks are poised ahead of their first-quarter earnings releases on Apr 27. Our research shows that companies with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) and a positive Earnings ESP have higher chances of beating earnings estimates. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter. Armstrong World Industries, Inc. ( AWI Quick Quote AWI - Free Report) is slated to report quarterly results before the opening bell. In the last reported quarter, the company’s top line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.5% but earnings beat the same by 30.6%. In fact, Armstrong World surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters, with the average positive earnings surprise being 15.04%, as shown in the chart below:
Our proven model does not conclusively predict an earnings beat for Armstrong World this time around, as it has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #3.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s first-quarter earnings is pegged at $1.14 per share, implying growth of 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. The consensus estimate for revenues is $255.7 million, indicating a 5.6% year-over-year improvement. Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. ( SSD Quick Quote SSD - Free Report) is slated to report quarterly results after the closing bell. In the last reported quarter, the company’s earnings beat the consensus mark by 3.3% but revenues missed the same by 4%. Simpson Manufacturing’s earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in two of the trailing four quarters, with the average negative surprise being 0.05%, as shown in the chart below:
Similar to Simpson Manufacturing, the chances of PotlatchDeltic delivering an earnings beat in the first quarter are low, as it has an Earnings ESP of -17.50% and a Zacks Rank #3.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for PotlatchDeltic’s first-quarter earnings is pegged at 13 cents per share, implying growth of 62.5% on a year-over-year basis. The consensus estimate for revenues is $193.5 million, indicating a 6.5% year-over-year increase. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 27 billion devices in just 3 years, creating a $1.7 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 6 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2020. Click here for the 6 trades >>