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Earnings playbook: Your guide to the busiest week of the reporting season


The busiest week of the earnings season thus far is about to kick off, and it could have wide-ranging implications for the broader stock market. About 20% of S & P 500 is slated to report fourth-quarter numbers this week, including tech giants Meta Platforms, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet. General Motors is also on deck. Many of those tech names have powered this year’s early gains for the market, so disappointing numbers from them could pressure the S & P 500 . So far, about 25% of S & P 500 companies have posted their fourth-quarter numbers. Of those names, nearly 72% have exceeded expectations, FactSet data shows. Take a look at CNBC Pro’s breakdown of what’s expected from some of this week’s key reports. All times are Eastern. Tuesday General Motors is set to report earnings before the bell, followed by a conference call at 8:30 a.m. Last quarter: GM posted an earnings beat but pulled its full-year guidance due to the United Auto Workers union strikes . This quarter: Analysts polled by LSEG expect a sharp year-over-year earnings drop. What CNBC is watching: GM’s fourth-quarter results could provide signs of stability for the company after it reached a deal with striking UAW workers. However, the automaker is now dealing with concerns around its autonomous vehicle unit Cruise . What history shows: GM beats earnings estimates 87% of the time, according to data from Bespoke Investment Group. However, the stock has fallen in the last three earnings days. Alphabet is set to report earnings after the close. A conference call is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Last quarter: A miss on cloud revenue overshadowed better-than-expected overall results for GOOGL . This quarter: The tech giant is expected to report a big year-over-year earnings jump, according to LSEG. What CNBC is watching: The Google parent heads into its latest earnings release date riding high. Alphabet shares are up nearly 9% to start 2024 after soaring 58% in 2023. Investors will look for clues on how the tech giant can maintain this momentum, especially on the AI front. Last week, the company announced it parted ways with Appen, the firm that helped train it Bard chatbot . What history shows: Alphabet averages a 1.45% gain after reporting earnings, Bespoke data shows. However, the stock has fallen in four of the last five earnings days, including two declines of more than 9%. AMD is set to report earnings after the closing bell, with a leadership call slated for 5 p.m. Last quarter: AMD issued soft fourth-quarter guidance but said it expects to sell $2 billion in AI chips in 2024 . This quarter: The chipmaker’s earnings are forecast to have jumped more than 10% year over year, while revenue is expected to have risen by high single digits, LSEG data shows. What CNBC is watching: AMD continues to ride the AI momentum seen in 2023. Year to date, the stock is already up 20% after soaring 127% in the prior year. However, Northland Capital’s Gus Richard thinks expectations may be too high for the chipmaker at this point . “We downgrade on valuation to ‘a heck if we know’ rating,” he wrote last week. He added that expectations for AI have reached “irrational exuberance.” What history shows: AMD beats earnings estimates 63% of the time, according to Bespoke. However, shares average a 1.39% decline after the company reports earnings. Starbucks is set to report earnings after the bell. A call with management is slated for 5 p.m. Last quarter: SBUX reported stronger-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter results, driven by consumers paying for pricier drinks . This quarter: The coffee chain’s earnings per share are forecast to have grown by more than 20% from the year-earlier period, per LSEG. What CNBC is watching: Starbucks shares are languishing again in 2024, losing more than 3%, as questions remain around the economic health of China, one of the company’s major markets. Evercore ISI analyst David Palmer noted last week: “We continue to believe in the multi-year margin opportunity ahead for Starbucks but believe that sub-5% SSS growth domestically could weigh on the multiple in the near term.” Palmer has an outperform rating on Starbucks and a price target of $125, which implies 35% upside. What history shows: Starbucks only beats earnings estimates 55% of the time, Bespoke data shows. However, shares rallied nearly 10% on the back of the most-recent report. Microsoft is set to report earnings following the close. Management is scheduled to hold a call at 5:30 p.m. Last quarter: MSFT posted fiscal first-quarter results that beat analyst expectations . The company also issued solid revenue guidance. This quarter: The tech giant’s earnings and revenue are expected to have expanded by more than 15% from the year-earlier period, LSEG data shows. What CNBC tech reporter Jordan Novet is watching: “Microsoft began selling Copilot add-on subscriptions for its productivity software bundles in November and December, but the introduction was limited to enterprises buying at least 300 seats. As highly anticipated as that launch was, it might not be a big factor for earnings. If anything, the company could see gains if analysts are right that clients eased up on efforts to optimize cloud infrastructure spending. And PC shipments grew for the first time in two years in the fourth quarter. That could bode well for sales of Windows licenses to device makers, which declined 39% in the year-ago quarter after a pandemic PC buying spree.” What history shows: Microsoft has beaten earnings estimates in five of the past six quarters, per Bespoke. Shares also average a slight gain on earnings days. Wednesday Boeing is set to report earnings before the bell. A call with management is also set for 10:30 a.m. Last quarter: BA cut its 737 Max delivery forecast but posted earnings and revenue that topped estimates . This quarter: Analysts polled by LSEG expect a slight year-over-year revenue increase for the airplane builder. What CNBC airlines reporter Leslie Josephs is watching: “Boeing’s CEO will be in the hot seat next week over the fallout from the fuselage panel blowout during an Alaska Airlines flight on Jan. 5. The planes have been grounded since a day after the accident, which exposed terrified passengers to a gaping hole in the side of the plane while it made an emergency landing from 16,000 feet. The FAA told CNBC on Jan. 23 that it will keep ‘boots on the ground’ at Boeing’s production lines until it is satisfied that Boeing’s quality control is in check, showing that the latest crisis will mean heightened regulator scrutiny for weeks and months to come. Boeing executives will outline the financial impact and — perhaps longer lasting — the reputational hit. United Airlines, a top Boeing customers, already said it is taking the not-yet-certified Max 10 out of its fleet plans, while both United’s CEO and Alaska’s have expressed frustration at Boeing. Expect more apologies and tough questions from analysts about sprawling quality problems that came to a head on Alaska Flight 1282.” What history shows: Boeing beats earnings expectations 69% of the time, according to Bespoke. The stock has also risen in three of the last four earnings days. Thursday Apple is set to report earnings after the bell. A call with management is also scheduled for 5 p.m. Last quarter: AAPL issued weaker-than-expected revenue guidance , sending the stock lower. This quarter: The iPhone maker is expected to report double-digit earnings growth on a year-over-year basis, according to LSEG. What CNBC is watching: Investors will watch for clues on the outlook for iPhone sales in China — one of the company’s key markets. Earlier this year, several analysts downgraded the stock, citing in part concerns around slowing sales in China. What history shows: The tech giant beats earnings estimates 89% of the time, per Bespoke. The stock also averages a 1.3% gain on earnings days. Amazon is set to report earnings following the closing bell. Analysts and management will then hold a call at 5:30 p.m. Last quarter: AMZN reported a 13% jump in revenue . This quarter: Revenue for the e-commerce giant is expect to have grown by more than 10%, per LSEG. What CNBC is watching: Key for Amazon investors will be guidance on the company’s AI-related projects as well as how well is it’s cloud juggernaut, Amazon Web Services, is doing. Mizuho Securities last week named Amazon a top pick, noting: “Our survey shows that FY24 budget priority is shifting to infrastructure spending with large-scale workload migrations and database upgrades due to Gen-AI.” What history shows: Amazon exceeds earnings expectations 63% of the time, according to Bespoke. Shares have also risen in each of the last two earnings days, including an 8.3% jump. Meta Platforms is set to report earnings after the close, followed by a call at 4:30 p.m. Last quarter: META reported a 23% revenue surge thanks to a recovery in digital advertising . This quarter: Analysts polled by LSEG expect big year-over-year earnings and revenue increases for Meta. What CNBC is watching: Meta is off to a flying start for the year, soaring 11.4%, as traders continue to cheer the prospects of AI bolstering profits going forward. Earlier this month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated the company is spending billions of dollars on Nvidia AI chips . What history shows: Meta shares have risen in three of the last four earnings days, per Bespoke, including a 23.3% rally.

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