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What’s in the Cards for Kinder Morgan (KMI) in Q1 Earnings?


Kinder Morgan Inc KMI is expected to post first-quarter 2018 results on Apr 18.

Last quarter, the company delivered an earnings surprise of 16.7%. Moreover, Kinder Morgan delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 4.6% in the last four quarters. Let’s see how things are shaping up prior to the announcement.

Which Way are Estimates Treading?

Let’s look at the estimate revisions to get a clear picture of what analysts are thinking about the company before earnings release.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate of 21 cents for the first quarter has been stable in the last 30 days. It reflects improvement of about 23.5% from the year-ago quarter.

Further, analysts polled by Zacks expect revenues of $3,482 million for the impending quarter, showing an increase of 1.7% from the prior-year quarter.

Factors to Consider

Kinder Morgan has the largest network of natural gas pipelines in North America, spread over almost 70,000 miles. Notably, the company’s midstream properties are linked to all the prospective plays in the United States, rich in natural gas.

These extensive networks of natural gas pipelines, for which the company has invested billions of dollars, provide stable fee-based revenues. In fact, Kinder Morgan expects 85% of its cash flow generation to come from fees charged for midstream properties over the coming quarters. The revenues from midstream properties will be reflected in the quarterly results.

However, Kinder Morgan’s weak balance sheet is a concern. As of fourth-quarter 2017, total debt — short and long term — is pegged at $34 billion. Debt capitalization ratio of 49.9% is higher than the industry’s ratio of 48.2%, which depicts the company’s significant exposure to debt. The company may face liquidity issues, if its debt continues to increase.

Moreover, the company’s Trans Mountain pipeline is plagued by uncertainties. The company has deferred bulk of work on its $5.8 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and is likely to abandon the project if Canada’s provincial and federal governments cannot reach an agreement by May 31. After this announcement, Alberta offered financial assistance. However, nothing is certain. If the pipeline is not constructed, this will be a major drawback for the company and it will adversely impact earnings in the first-quarter.

Price Performance in Q1

During the quarter, Kinder Morgan has underperformed the industry. In the aforesaid period, the stock has lost 16.6% compared with the industry’s decline of 14.9%.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Kinder Morgan will beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP for the company is 0.00%. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: Kinder Morgan carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Please note that we caution investors against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell Rated) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

Though earnings beat looks uncertain for Kinder Morgan, here are some firms that you may want to consider on the basis of our model. These have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Continental Resources, Inc CLR is an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company. The company has an Earnings ESP of +7.50% and sports a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Headquartered in Irving, TX, Pioneer Natural Resources Company PXD is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company. The company has an Earnings ESP of +4.75% and carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Houston, TX-based EOG Resources, Inc EOG is a major independent oil and gas exploration and production company. The company has an Earnings ESP of +14.04% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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