Positive Surpries With Below-Average P/Es
When the markets are volatile, investors take comfort in stocks announcing better-than-expected earnings. Notably, contrarian investors have observed that positive surprises are even more dramatic events for value-oriented stocks since the surprise often triggers a change (for the better) in the market perception of a company.
This issue’s First Cut screens for stocks with below-average forward price-earnings ratios (price divided by expected earnings per share) that have reported quarterly earnings that surpassed the consensus forecast—a positive earnings surprise.
Changes in a stock’s price resulting from an earnings surprise may be immediate, but the surprise may also have a long-term price effect. This means that it may not be too late to buy into an attractive company after a better-than-expected earnings report is released. Studies indicate that the effect can persist for as long as a year after the announcement. Firms with a significant surprise also often have earnings surprises in subsequent quarters.
The stocks that made this issue’s First Cut are exchange-listed companies tracked by at least four analysts that have had a significant positive quarterly surprise since the end of September 2007 with a forward price-earnings ratio below the average of all companies tracked by AAII’s Stock Investor Pro. These companies are also expected by analysts to have positive earnings for their current and following fiscal year, and they have not had downward quarterly or annual earnings estimate revisions during the past month.
Only the top 30 stocks with the largest percentage surprise made the First Cut.
The listing also includes the monthly percentage change in the consensus fiscal-year estimate to indicate how analysts have adjusted their near-term expectations, and the four-week and 52-week price changes to highlight investor reaction to the announcement.
|Company (Exchange: Ticker)||Quarterly EPS||Current Fiscal-||
|Hutchinson Technology (M: HTCH)||0.12||0.32||166.7||1.19||3.5||21.9||-6||9||disk drive components; biomeasure|
|America's Car-Mart, Inc. (M: CRMT)||0.16||0.29||81.3||1.01||32.9||11.5||2||4||used car market|
|W&T Offshore, Inc. (N: WTI)||0.31||0.53||71||1.91||2.1||15.2||5||-11||oil & gas company|
|Terra Industries Inc. (N: TRA)||0.46||0.75||63||2.32||0.4||17.2||12||273||nitrogen prods for agri & indus|
|CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (N: CF)||0.97||1.52||56.7||5.83||4.1||16.6||14||308||nitrogen & phosphate fertilizer|
|Western Digital Corp. (N: WDC)||0.57||0.79||38.6||3.25||19||9.2||12||45||hard drive mfr & sales|
|Perrigo Company (M: PRGO)||0.26||0.36||38.5||1.38||7||23.6||8||94||pharmaceuticals & nutrition prods|
|SiRF Technology Holdings (M: SIRF)||0.22||0.29||31.8||1.05||1||23||-10||-8||GPS semiconductor solutions|
|American Physicians Capital (M: ACAP)||0.94||1.21||28.7||4.54||1.6||9.5||3||9||medical liability insurance|
|hhgregg, Inc. (N: HGG)||0.14||0.18||28.6||1||5.3||14||-7||0||appliances & audio/video prods|
|Fossil, Inc. (M: FOSL)||0.34||0.43||26.5||1.68||1.2||25.8||5||95||consumer fashion accessories|
|Bristow Group Inc. (N: BRS)||0.76||0.93||22.4||3.43||1.2||16.1||3||50||helicopters to offshore indus|
|Infinity Property & Casualty (M: IPCC)||0.82||1||22||3.82||0.5||9.6||-7||-23||auto insurance|
|Tech Data Corporation (M: TECD)||0.6||0.73||21.7||2.42||6.6||15.3||2||-8||distribs info technology prods|
|Travelers Companies, Inc. (N: TRV)||1.49||1.81||21.5||6.69||0.3||7.9||0||0||property & casualty insurance|
|Archer Daniels Midland (N: ADM)||0.59||0.71||20.3||2.63||1.5||14.9||3||20||agri commodities & prods|
|Humana Inc. (N: HUM)||1.49||1.78||19.5||4.79||0.4||15.8||4||37||health insurance coverage|
|Casey's General Stores (M: CASY)||0.46||0.54||17.4||1.72||8.9||16.4||-3||16||convenience stores|
|Verigy Ltd. (M: VRGY)||0.5||0.58||16||2.03||9.7||13.1||31||49||tests & solutions for semicond|
|Aladdin Knowledge Systems (M: ALDN)||0.26||0.3||15.4||1.14||0.9||23.3||7||50||network security & software rights|
|Plexus Corp. (M: PLXS)||0.48||0.55||14.6||1.9||0.5||14||-8||9||prod realization servs to equip mfrs|
|Clean Harbors, Inc. (M: CLHB)||0.57||0.63||10.5||2||0.5||25.5||-7||11||environmental services|
|Donaldson Company, Inc. (N: DCI)||0.48||0.53||10.4||2.05||3||22.2||13||29||filtration systems & parts|
|Comtech Telecomm. Corp. (M: CMTL)||0.49||0.54||10.2||2.58||1.2||20.3||5||35||sys & servs for communications|
|Hasbro, Inc. (N: HAS)||0.71||0.78||9.9||2.03||1||12.7||-6||-5||games and toys|
|Tyco Electronics Ltd. (N: TEL)||0.54||0.59||9.3||2.45||4.3||14.9||4||0||electronic components|
|Aircastle Limited (N: AYR)||0.45||0.49||8.9||1.76||0.6||15.1||-5||-8||aircraft leasing|
|National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (N: NOV)||0.94||1.02||8.5||3.73||0.3||20.7||20||127||oil & gas drilling equip|
|Copart, Inc. (M: CPRT)||0.38||0.41||7.9||1.75||4.2||23.9||18||37||vehicle remarketing servs|
|optionsXpress Holdings (M: OXPS)||0.38||0.4||5.3||1.53||2||20.7||8||31||brokerage servs|
Exchange Key: N=New York Stock Exchange; A=American Stock Exchange; M=NASDAQ.
Source: AAII's Stock Investor Pro and Reuters Research, Inc. Data as of 12/14/2007.