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Why Caterpillar (CAT) is Poised to Beat Earnings Estimates Again



April 2, 2024 - If you are looking for a stock that has a solid history of beating earnings estimates and is in a good position to maintain the trend in its next quarterly report, you should consider Caterpillar (CAT). This company, which is in the Zacks Manufacturing - Construction and Mining industry, shows potential for another earnings beat.

When looking at the last two reports, this construction equipment company has recorded a strong streak of surpassing earnings estimates. The company has topped estimates by 13.04%, on average, in the last two quarters.

For the most recent quarter, Caterpillar was expected to post earnings of $4.76 per share, but it reported $5.23 per share instead, representing a surprise of 9.87%. For the previous quarter, the consensus estimate was $4.75 per share, while it actually produced $5.52 per share, a surprise of 16.21%.

For Caterpillar, estimates have been trending higher, thanks in part to this earnings surprise history. And when you look at the stock's positive Zacks Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction), it's a great indicator of a future earnings beat, especially when combined with its solid 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.

Caterpillar currently has an Earnings ESP of +1.06%, 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.

Investors should note, however, that a negative Earnings ESP reading is not indicative of an earnings miss, but a negative value does reduce the predictive power of this metric.

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.