16 neglected stocks poised to crush Wall Street's expectations when they announce earnings, according to Bank of America

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Earnings season is here again.

The first-quarter results from America's biggest companies could boost their stocks, which have sagged of late.

"Both macro and micro data suggest that a beat - albeit smaller than in 3Q - is likely, with a near-record proportion of early-reporter beats, near-record (but decelerating) US data surprises, strong (but slowing) guidance trends and continued strength in the ISM indices (to which we've found among the strongest correlations with EPS growth)," Bank of America Merrill Lynch equity strategists said in a recent note.

They identified companies that are poised to surprise investors with outsized beats on earnings and sales forecasts.

The list below includes the stocks that BAML thinks are underowned by fund managers. It is ranked in ascending order of how much more bullish BAML's analysts are compared to their peers: Z-scores representing the number of standard deviations between BAML's earnings-per-share estimates and the consensus among other analysts.

All the stocks below beat on earnings and revenues during the last quarter, and are rated "buy" by BAML.

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McDonald's

McDonald's

Ticker: MCD

Sector: Consumer Discretionary

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 0.0

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 1.0

Expected report date: April 30

United Rentals

United Rentals

Ticker: URI

Sector: Industrials

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 0.1

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 0.3

Expected report date: April 18

Qualcomm

Qualcomm

Ticker: QCOM

Sector: Information Technology

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 0.1

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 0.5

Expected report date: April 25

McKesson Corp.

McKesson Corp.

Ticker: MCK

Sector: Healthcare

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 0.2

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 0.5

Expected report date: May 17

Illinois Tool Works

Illinois Tool Works

Ticker: ITW

Sector: Industrials

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 0.3

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 0.0

Expected report date: April 23

Cimarex Energy

Cimarex Energy

Ticker: XEC

Sector: Energy

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 0.4

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 1.1

Expected report date: May 9

Packaging Corp. of America

Packaging Corp. of America

Ticker: PKG

Sector: Materials

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 0.4

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 0.2

Expected report date: April 24

Verisk Analytics

Verisk Analytics

Ticker: VRSK

Sector: Industrials

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 0.6

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 1.4

Expected report date: May 1

Apple

Apple

Ticker: AAPL

Sector: Information Technology

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 0.8

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 0.4

Expected report date: May 1

The Travelers Companies

The Travelers Companies

Ticker: TRV

Sector: Financials

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 1.0

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 5.5

Expected report date: April 24

Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies

Ticker: A

Sector: Healthcare

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 1.0

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 2.4

Expected report date: May 15

Caterpillar

Caterpillar

Ticker: CAT

Sector: Industrials

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 1.0

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 0.1

Expected report date: April 24

Allstate

Allstate

Ticker: ALL

Sector: Financials

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 1.1

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 5.2

Expected report date: May 1

Kinder Morgan

Kinder Morgan

Ticker: KMI

Sector: Energy

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 1.2

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 2.2

Expected report date: April 18

Nvidia

Nvidia

Ticker: NVDA

Sector: Information Technology

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 1.7

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 0.1

Expected report date: May 8

Newfield Exploration

Newfield Exploration

Ticker: NFX

Sector: Energy

BAML vs consensus EPS Z-score: 2.3

BAML vs consensus sales Z-score: 0.1

Expected report date: May 1

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