Market Underdogs: 3 Stocks Ready to Beat Earnings With Some Serious Bite


  • These companies focus on operational efficiency measures, market penetration strategies, and digital innovation efforts to derive growth.
  • 3M (MMM): The firm attained solid growth in adjusted EPS in 2023 despite declining organic sales.
  • Yum China (YUMC): The company aims to serve half of China’s population by 2026, focusing on expansion into lower-tier cities.
  • Restaurant Brands (QSR): The international segment saw solid system-wide sales growth in 2023, driven by strategic investments.
Stocks Ready to Beat Earnings - Market Underdogs: 3 Stocks Ready to Beat Earnings With Some Serious Bite

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During the current earnings season, three companies have strategically positioned themselves to boost their bottom line. They will do it through international expansion, market penetration, and operational edge, giving investors a sneak peek at potentially lucrative consumer discretionary and industrial opportunities. 

Despite obstacles in some markets, the first has shown resilience in increasing profitability. When combined with deliberate cost-cutting initiatives, the company’s adjusted EPS rise in 2023 demonstrated its ability to gain an operational advantage and increase margins.

Meanwhile, the second is making a concerted effort to broaden its customer base to take advantage of China’s urbanization tendencies. Targeting underprivileged communities and stepping up its presence in lower-class cities are two ways the company plans to maintain its leadership in the Chinese restaurant sector. 

Similarly, the third is maintaining its quick development pace by utilizing its worldwide section and digital innovation. The company’s main priorities include growing internationally and improving the digital visitor experience.

Thus, we can benefit from these three companies’ strategic goals and market dominance once their earnings reports are released. 

3M (MMM)

3M logo on top of a corporate building. MMM stock
Source: JPstock /

3M (NYSE:MMM) increased their adjusted profits per share by 11% in Q4 2023. This expansion shows the business can increase profitability despite challenges like diminishing organic sales in some areas. Even with organic sales down 3%, 3M was able to increase its adjusted margins by 0.6%. This reflects the company’s ability to increase profitability in the face of sales headwinds by highlighting its focus on cost containment.

Moreover, operating margins increased by 1.8%. This development indicates 3M’s ability to manage expenses and effectively boost operational effectiveness throughout its segments. Over $400 million was saved due to 3M’s extensive restructuring initiatives, which included lowering management levels, eliminating corporate shared services, and updating technology. 

Finally, even with challenges in organic sales, 3M was able to boost its free cash flow by 30% annually. In addition to continuing restructuring efforts and strategic initiatives, 3M drives performance through its operational model. Overall, this positions the company for sustained margin expansion and gains in operational efficiency well into 2024 and beyond.

Yum China (YUMC)

A banner for Yum China (YUMC) decorates the New York Stock Exchange.
Source: rblfmr /

Yum China’s (NYSE:YUMC) aggressive goals to reach a greater proportion of the Chinese people demonstrate its focus on market penetration. By serving half of China’s population by 2026, the corporation will gain more consumer spending. 

Moreover, Yum China has laid out strategic objectives to expand its shop density in current cities and break into new ones to accomplish this goal. The company already conducts business in 2,000 Chinese cities, keeping an eye on 1,000 more for potential growth.

Furthermore, Yum China may tap into new customer groups and benefit from rising urbanization and consumption patterns in these regions by focusing on underserved areas and increasing its presence in lower-class cities. Lower-tier locations provide the company with appealing chances. This is because of their substantial customer spending power and cheaper cost of living. 

Overall, Yum China’s focus on market penetration is consistent with its long-term growth plan. The goal is to take the lead in the Chinese restaurant sector. Hence, by reaching out to underserved areas and growing its client base, the business may derive constant top-line growth and maintain its position as the industry leader.

Restaurant Brands (QSR)

A photo of a Burger King light-up sign outside a Burger King restaurant representing QSR stock.
Source: Savvapanf Photo /

The international segment of Restaurant Brands (NYSE:QSR) is a major factor in the company’s development trajectory. The segment demonstrated strong performance in overseas markets in 2023, with a system-wide sales increase of 17.6% for 2023. Restaurant Brands showed resiliency and strong growth in its international business despite obstacles. This includes declining performance in China and certain Western European areas. 

Moreover, the company has demonstrated its dedication to worldwide expansion and diversification through its development agreements and strategic investments in new areas. By strategically utilizing global markets, Restaurant Brands may maintain its swift expansion and foster long-term value generation. Restaurant Brands has also demonstrated its focus on digital innovation through its efforts to improve the digital guest experience and increase online sales. 

Furthermore, Restaurant Brands has built a robust digital infrastructure. This is observed in its monthly active user base of over 5 million and its 30% share of digital sales in Canada. Moreover, the continuous installation of kiosks in several global marketplaces enhances the overall visitor experience and supports the expansion of digital sales. 

Overall, restaurant brands can increase their operational edge, maximize sales channels, and quicken their growth trajectory by utilizing technology and digital platforms.

As of this writing, Yiannis Zourmpanos held a long position in MMM. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Yiannis Zourmpanos is the founder of Yiazou Capital Research, a stock-market research platform designed to elevate the due diligence process through in-depth business analysis.

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