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.