The Q3 earnings season has commenced on a better note, with results announced so far displaying an improvement from the dreary preceding quarters. According to the latest Earnings Preview report, of the 34 S&P 500 members that have reported Q3 results so far, 79.4% have posted positive earnings surprises and 64.7% have surpassed top-line expectations.
In the consumer staples sector, 15.6% companies had reported Q3 earnings as of Oct 14. Out of these, all the companies have posted an earnings beat while 80% have surpassed the revenue estimate. We saw leading names like Pepsico Inc. PEP, ConAgra Foods Inc. CAG, Constellation Brands Inc. STZ and McCormick & Co. MKC) deliver stellar Q3 results despite currency headwinds and sluggishness in emerging markets.
This sector is anticipated to witness 2.5% earnings growth in Q3. Rrevenue is estimated to grow 1.3%, implying a substantial improvement from a 1% drop witnessed in the preceding quarter.
Despite a modest economic recovery and improvement in U.S. consumer confidence, persistent uncertainty about the global backdrop could limit the consumer staple stocks’ upside potential. However, efficient pricing, solid cost saving initiatives, lucrative acquisitions and efforts to enhance product portfolio should cushion these companies from such hurdles, in turn driving their bottom line.
So, let’s take a look at a couple of consumer staples stocks that are queued up to report their results on Oct 19.
We start with Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), its current Zacks Consensus Estimate for third-quarter 2016 is pegged at 65 cents, reflecting 17.3% growth from the year-ago period. However, we are unsure about whether this tobacco company will be able to post earnings beat because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. This is not the case here as the company has an Earnings ESP of -3.08% and a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Further, we note that in the trailing four quarters, the company missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in two quarters and posted in-line results in the other two an average negative earnings surprise of 2.2%.
Headwinds like the shift in consumer’s preference away from tobacco products amid increasing cigarette prices, as well as the rise in anti-tobacco campaigns globally, are likely to weigh on Reynolds’ third-quarter volumes. (Read More: Reynolds Earnings: Will It Disappoint in Q3?)
Next, let’s take a sneak peek at SUPERVALU Inc. (SVU). The company’s current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second-quarter fiscal 2017 is pegged at 10 cents, displaying 25% decline from the year-ago period. The company reported negative surprises in two of the last four quarters, in-line result in one of the quarter and positive surprise in the remaining quarter with an average positive surprise of 4.7%. Moreover, our proven model does not conclusively show that SUPERVALU is likely to beat earnings estimates this quarter. This is because the company currently carries an Earnings ESP of 10.00% and a Zacks Rank #4. So, let’s wait and see what does this earnings season unveil for this grocery stock.
SUPERVALU posted weaker-than-expected sales in the Retail and Save-A-Lot segments in second-quarter fiscal 2017. The company has announced the sale of its Save-A-Lot business. Higher competition in the grocery business as well as a challenging retail environment has led to the decline in sales in the retail business of the company. Further, the Save-A-Lot segment is affected negatively due to deflationary environment as well as unfavorable comparisons with the previous year. Additionally, the company expects the comparable sales in the second quarter to be lower than the first quarter. (Read More: SUPERVALU: What Will Q2 Earnings Release Unveil?)
Next in consideration is Tupperware Brands Corporation TUP. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for third-quarter 2016 is pegged at 80 cents, which is 1% higher than the year-ago quarter. The company reported positive surprises in three of the last four quarters and a negative surprise in the other quarter, with an average positive surprise of 5.1%. However, this consumer staples stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%, which makes surprise prediction difficult. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
For WD-40 Company WDFC, we are unsure whether the homecare and cleaning product maker will beat estimates in fourth-quarter fiscal 2016 because the company currently carries an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #3, which makes surprise prediction difficult. The company’s current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fourth-quarter fiscal 2016 is pegged at 82 cents, reflecting 2.1% increase from the year-ago period. It posted positive surprises in three of the last four quarters and negative surprise in the remaining quarter with an average positive surprise of 3.54%. Let’s wait and see what does this Q3 earnings season hold for the stock.
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