Zacks Investment Ideas feature highlights: Texas Industries, eBay and Fifth Third Bancorp

 Zacks Investment Ideas feature highlights: Texas Industries, eBay and Fifth
                                Third Bancorp

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Jan. 8, 2013

CHICAGO, Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Zacks Investment Ideas feature
highlights Features: Texas Industries (Nasdaq:TXN), eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) and
Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq:FITB).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

Zacks' Top ESP Earnings Stocks

Q4 season officially begins this week with the release of Alcoa's numbers
tomorrow morning. Even with Sandy, the election, the fiscal cliff and the
lingering deficit issues, the market has been extremely resilient. So much so
that the S&P 500 has risen over 8% since the November lows, which were hit
just as Q3 earnings season was winding down.

What's interesting is that in that time, the total fourth-quarter operating
earnings estimate for the S&P 500 has fallen to $25.29 a share from $26.87;
the S&P earned $23.73 in Q4-2012. These new expectations represent an almost
50% decrease in year over year Q4 earnings growth from 13.2% to an expected
6.6% in Q4.

One would think that with those revisions we would move markets lower, but
obviously there is still hope that the U.S. will continue its slow grind
higher; economic data somewhat supports this thesis. It's also important to
note that the fourth quarter does looks to be a better earnings season than
the third quarter, where earnings for the S&P 500 were down slightly
year-over-year, breaking an 11-quarter streak of EPS gains.

Finding stocks with the best chances of winning could be the best path to
finding rising stock prices after earnings especially in uncertain times and
the Zacks Earnings Surprise Prediction or ESP helps target those stocks.

About Zacks Earnings ESP

Earnings ESP is Zacks' proprietary methodology for determining which stocks
have the best chance to surprise with their next earnings announcement. The
Earnings ESP shows the percentage difference between the Most Accurate
Estimate and the Consensus. The Zacks ESP helps predict earnings surprises to
the upside and downside; the greater the ESP (positive or negative) the
greater the likelihood for a surprise. I use ESP to help quantify the
conviction of the analysts for a surprise and stack the odds in my favor when
I combine it with other measurements and statistics.

The Accuracy of ESP

Of course, some ESP numbers are better than others. In our testing, over the
last 10 years, we have found that stocks with a positive ESP and with a Zacks
Rank of 1, 2 or 3 (Strong Buy, Buy or Hold), produced a positive surprise 70%
of the time.

(The other 9% of the time, they reported in line with expectations, with a
negative surprise occurring only 21% of the time.)

Bullish ESP Stocks

Texas Industries (Nasdaq:TXN) is a Zacks Rank 3 stock with a positive earnings
ESP of 26.47% for the current quarter. The company is expected to lose 34
cents a share, but our ESP readings are looking for a loss of only 25 cents.

As the U.S. continues to slowly recover, we need to turn our attention to our
deteriorating infrastructure that is in dire need of repair. TXI focuses most
of its energy on Texas and California which both lead the nation in federal
highway funding.

With an ever growing populous and recovery underway in both states, TXI should
stand to benefit. TXI has been struggling with sales, but are expected to
begin growing earnings in the coming quarters.

– Texas Industries reports earnings on January 9th.

–

eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) is a Zacks Rank 2 stock with a positive earnings ESP of
6.52% for the current quarter; the Zacks Consensus is for a per share profit
of $0.46.

Retail is getting mixed reviews for Q4, but eBay is in its own subsector as
mainly an auction site, but with regular sale type items as well. Amazon was
recently given an upgrade by Morgan Stanley, which may mean that confidence
hasn't been all lost on the sector.

Shares are relativity rich at almost 22 times forward earnings, but if eBay
can deliver 13%+ growth, that multiple may be justified. There was a recent
flurry of bullish analyst movements ahead of their report in a week. No
analysts have lowered their estimates in the last 30 days.

– eBay reports earnings on January 16th.

Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq:FITB) is a Zacks Rank 3 stock with a positive
earnings ESP of 3% for the current quarter. The Zacks consensus estimate is
for Q3 EPS of $0.42, with the most accurate estimate at $0.435.

Banks and financials are expected to be the shining light in a market with a
mostly cloudy forecast.

Several analysts have noted positive developments in the sector; and while
Raymond James downgraded FITB from a strong buy to an outperform, their price
target on the stock still remains 13% higher than the current price.

The majority of analysts are at least moderately bullish on the name going
into their next report.

– Fifth Third reports earnings on January 17th.

ESP Earnings Results

Now that you know which groups of stocks to focus on to increase your chances
of a positive surprise, let's look at the size of the ESP that has
historically generated the best results.

First, just having a positive ESP produces market beating results. Over the
last 10 years, using a 1 week holding period (stocks were held for no more
than one week after they reported), the average annual return was 23.5%. This
is in stark contrast to stocks with a negative ESP which produced a -9.20%
return.

Now apply the Zacks Rank of 1, 2 or 3 to that list and the returns jump to
28.3%.

But requiring your stocks to have an ESP of greater than 1%, increases its
performance to 29.6%. An ESP of greater than 2%, bumps performance up to
31.6%. While an ESP of greater than 3%, produces an average annual return of
37.2%.

Note: there's no need to hold out for stocks with significantly higher ESP's
than 3%. While some stocks with higher ESP's will do fantastic, there's no
aggregate increase in performance by ratcheting it up beyond d the 3%
threshold. And as the above stats illustrate, simply having a positive ESP
(i.e., the Most Accurate Estimate is above the Consensus) still produces
stellar results with a high probability of success.

Start Using Zacks ESP in Your Own Trading Today

The next time your stock is about to report or a stock on your watchlist is
getting closer to their earnings date, be sure to look at its Zacks ESP and
see what your stock's probabilities are of producing a positive surprise.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed
in 1978 by Len Zacks. The company continually processes stock reports issued
by 3,000 analysts from 150 brokerage firms. It monitors more than 200,000
earnings estimates, looking for changes.

Then when changes are discovered, they're applied to help assign more than
4,400 stocks into five Zacks Rank categories: #1 Strong Buy, #2 Buy, #3 Hold,
#4 Sell, and #5 Strong Sell. This proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks
Rank, continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best
way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of
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Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors
should always research companies and securities before making any investments.
Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell
any security.

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