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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Exterran Partners, Epl Oil & gas and Hasbro

CHICAGO, April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI), Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE:SLB), Exterran Partners, L.P. (Nasdaq:EXLP), Epl Oil & gas Inc. (NYSE:EPL) and Hasbro Inc. (Nasdaq:HAS).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Will Baker-Hughes Beat Earnings?

Houston-based oilfield services company, Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI) is set to report its first-quarter 2013 results on Apr 19, 2013. Let's see how things are shaping up prior to the announcement.

In the last quarter, the company's earnings of 62 cents per share decreased 48.3% from $1.20 per share earned in the year-ago quarter. The results were adversely impacted by unfavorable pricing conditions in the North American Pressure Pumping business. However, the results managed to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.

Growth Factors this Past Quarter

Baker Hughes' fourth-quarter results were stable having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both revenues and earnings. However unfavorable pricing conditions in the North American Pressure Pumping business had resulted in year-over-year lower numbers both at the top and the bottom line.

The improvement came from strong international performance, thanks to Latin America and Europe/Africa/CIS. The company's robust seasonal year-end sales, which represented more than 50% of international revenue growth, were also of help. Although Middle East/Asia Pacific experienced some issues with Iraq start-up costs, these are expected to subside in late 2013 and return to more standardized margins.

Of late in Baker Hughes' monthly rig count release, the average U.S. rig count for Mar 2013 was 1,756, down 223 from 1,979 counted a year earlier. The monthly average Canadian rig count was 464, down 28 from 492 counted in Mar 2012. This shows that North American doldrums will continue to affect oil service providers going forward.

Management believes the Middle East/Asia Pacific, and Europe/Africa/Russia/Caspian regions, in particular Iraq and Saudi Arabia, are likely to be the primary growth drivers in the future. In such a scenario, we believe oil field providers like Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE:SLB) without an overt North American exposure would fare well going forward.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Baker Hughes' is likely to beat first quarter earnings. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Zacks Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) and a Zacks Rank of #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: The Expected Surprise Prediction or ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate Estimate and Zacks Consensus Estimate currently stands at 62 cents.
Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Baker Hughes' Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) lowers the predictive power of ESP because the Zacks Rank #3 when combined with an ESP of 0.00% indicates the possibility of in line results. We caution against stocks with Zacks Ranks #4 and #5 (Sell rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.

Other Stocks to Consider

Exterran Partners, L.P. (Nasdaq:EXLP) has an earnings ESP of +4.35% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Epl Oil & gas Inc. (NYSE:EPL) has an earnings ESP of +9.76% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Hasbro Likely to Beat in 1Q

We expect Hasbro Inc. (Nasdaq:HAS), the worldwide leader in children's and family entertainment products and services, to beat earnings expectations when it reports first-quarter 2013 results before the opening bell on Apr 22.


Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that Hasbro has the right combination of two key ingredients to beat earnings.


Positive Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) for Hasbro is  at +33.33% – the difference between the Most Accurate estimate of 4 cents per share and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 3 cents per share. This is very meaningful and a leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise for shares.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Hasbro's Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) increases the predictive power of its ESP. The combination of its Zacks Rank and +33.33% Earnings ESP makes us confident of a positive earnings surprise in the to-be-reported quarter.


Note that stocks with Zacks Ranks of #1, 2 and 3 have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings. The Sell rated stocks (#4 and 5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement.


Drivers of Better-than-Expected Earnings

We believe Hasbro is likely to beat earnings in first-quarter gaining from its Entertainment backed products, growing Girls' category and stabilizing Games and Puzzle segments and cost controlling initiatives. Hasbro has been consistently trying to expand its business in the emerging markets in order to increase its international revenues. We expect this to provide Hasbro with a considerable up-market potential and prove accretive to first-quarter earnings.


Hasbro is riding high with its strong product line-up, key licensed brands and lucrative strategic partnerships with several gaming entities. Benefiting from this, the company has been performing favorably and has delivered an average earnings surprise of 1.32% over the last four quarters.


Other Stocks to Consider

Hasbro is not the only stock performing impressively this earnings season. We also observe that there are other companies, which are likely to beat earnings.


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