Investing

5 Stocks to Buy That Beat Earnings Estimates and Raised Guidance

If there is any combination that warms the hearts of Wall Street analysts and investors, it is companies that beat analysts’ earnings estimates and simultaneously raise earnings guidance expectations. A new research note from Jefferies includes a detailed list of companies that reported earnings already for fourth quarter. In that list, we found five companies that not only beat estimates, but they also raised forward guidance.

The five companies we found in the data range from tech to industrial to wireless infrastructure to education. Given the positive forward outlooks, and solid earnings beats, these could be top stocks to look at for 2015.

Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI) offers significant wireless communications coverage to all the top 100 U.S. markets and to substantially all the Australian population. Crown Castle owns, operates and manages approximately 40,000 and 1,800 wireless communication sites, and it bought the rights to AT&T’s wireless broadcast towers in the fall of 2013 for $4.85 billion. When wireless service providers sell broadcast towers, they typically lease back space from tower operators so they can continue to offer their services without interruption. This is a win-win for the purchaser.

Crown Castle investors are paid a solid 3.75% dividend. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target for the stock is $88.80. The stock closed Monday at $88.05 a share.

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GATX Corp. (NYSE: GMT) is a top transportation stock and another company that beat and raised. GATX reported 2014 fourth-quarter net income of $58.5 million, or $1.30 per diluted share, compared to net income of $53.3 million, or $1.14 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2013. With the largest railcar lease fleet in the world, GATX has been providing quality railcars and services to its customers for more than 115 years. With Wall Street expecting slow but steady growth, this is another solid stock for long-term portfolios.

GATX investors are paid a 2.3% dividend. The consensus price target is $74.25, and the shares closed trading on Monday at $58.15.

Infinera Corp. (NASDAQ: INFN) is a top tech stock that beat earnings estimates and raised guidance. It provides Intelligent Transport Networks for network operators, enabling reliable, easy-to-operate, high-capacity optical networks. Infinera leverages its unique large-scale photonic integrated circuits to deliver innovative optical networking solutions for the most demanding network environments. Intelligent Transport Networks enable carriers, cloud network operators, governments and enterprises to automate, converge and scale their data center, metro, long-haul and subsea optical networks.

The consensus price target for Infinera is $16.44. Shares ended the trading day Monday above that level at $16.69.

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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (NYSE: TSM) is another technology company that provided a beat and raise for Wall Street. It is one of the largest chip manufacturing companies in the world, often outsourcing business for its larger rivals. Estimates of the company’s worldwide market share vary, but analysts agree that about 60% seems to be right. The company is also involved in researching, developing, designing, manufacturing and selling solid state lighting devices and related applications products and systems, as well as renewable energy and saving related technologies and products.

Taiwan Semiconductor shareholders are paid a 1.7% dividend. The consensus price target is $23.57. The stock closed Monday at $24.16.

TAL Education Group (NYSE: XRS) is another, more under-the-radar stock that beat estimates and raised guidance. The company is a leading after-school tutoring services provider in China that offers comprehensive services to students from preschool to the 12th grade through three flexible class formats: small classes, personalized premium services and online courses. Its services cover the core academic subjects in China’s school curriculum, including mathematics, English, Chinese, physics, chemistry and biology. Its learning center network includes 287 physical learning centers as of August 31, 2014, located in nineteen key cities in China.

The consensus price target is $35.18. TAL Education shares closed Monday at $30.20 apiece.

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While beating estimates and raising guidance is no guarantee of higher stock prices, it does give investors a solid foundation when contemplating adding new stocks to a portfolio. With continued higher volatility expected in 2015, companies that are laying solid forward groundwork make good sense to own.