With the first truly hectic week of corporate earnings complete, the S&P 500 appears headed to a longer earnings recession, but reports from three of the large U.S. companies that were largely at fault could help turn around the numbers this week.
Apple Inc. AAPL, +1.23% , Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, +0.23% and Facebook Inc. FB, +0.81% are three of more than 150 S&P 500 SPX, +0.41% companies that will report in the coming week, even more than in the crowded week before. Those three companies’ large profit declines in the first half of the year put them in the top-five contributors to the earnings recession, as Apple dealt with a tough sequel to iPhone X sales, Facebook accounted for billions of dollars in government fines and Exxon suffered from a lagging chemicals business.
After last week’s results, 40% of S&P 500 companies have reported calendar third-quarter earnings, and earnings for that group declined 1.66%. A big turnaround from some of the largest companies in the index could certainly turn that around, but analysts’ estimates point to the earnings decline steepening.
Apple and Exxon are two of five Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.57% components reporting this week, and will be joined by three health-focused Dow components: Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. WBA, +1.78% on Monday, and drugmakers Pfizer Inc. PFE, +1.04% and Merck & Co. Inc. MRK, -0.39% on Thursday. Plenty of big names in technology will also report this week, including Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, +0.41% GOOG, +0.33% and chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD, +3.12% .
Here’s what to expect from the week ahead.
AMD and Western Digital Corp. WDC, +2.87% could provide a bit more clarity on the semiconductor landscape, after mixed signals from chip companies that have reported earnings so far.
AMD’s report follows a solid performance from Intel Corp. INTC, +8.10% that showed a surprise rise in data-center revenue, which the company attributed partly to $200 million in spending that was moved up in anticipation of future tariffs. While the report provided optimism initially, the one-time windfall and pessimism from other chip makers quickly tamped down any cheers for the chip sector. Investors will be watching AMD’s report to gain a better read on the state of corporate spending, as well as to gauge the traction of AMD’s own offerings relative to Intel’s.
Full preview: AMD hopes new chips helps to avoid larger chip downturn
Western Digital has seen earnings drop by more than 95% in each of the past two quarters, and analysts are calling for a 90% decrease this time around as the company continues to grapple with declines in memory prices. AMD is on the Tuesday afternoon docket, while WDC follows up a day later.
A test for Apple
Expectations aren’t particularly high for Apple heading into the company’s Wednesday afternoon earnings report, with analysts calling for roughly flat revenue relative to a year earlier. The company will be under pressure to justify a recent stock rally that keeps sending the stock to new highs, and a big focus will be Apple’s December-quarter outlook, which will show how the company expects its latest iPhone line to perform in the crucial holiday season. Another area of interest will be Apple’s projections for its Apple TV+ streaming service and its guidance on how to account for this service in the company’s financial statements.
More iPhone indications
Before Apple delivers its numbers, carriers AT&T Inc. T, +0.24% and T-Mobile US. Inc. TMUS, +0.17% will post results on Monday morning and afternoon, respectively. Those reports will come in the shadow of Verizon Communication Inc.’s VZ, -0.35% numbers, which showed strong postpaid phone additions amid a more promotional wireless environment. AT&T and T-Mobile will show if they benefited as well from this environment and could also provide some qualitative commentary on the early weeks of iPhone 11 sales.
Not so slick
Exxon Mobil has posted two straight quarters of earnings declines, and analysts are expecting another on Friday morning when the company delivers results. Management at Exxon already put out a filing earlier in October that hinted at further disappointment as the company pointed to declines in oil prices as one factor that was expected to negatively impact earnings. Both Exxon and Chevron Corp. CVX, +0.93% will deliver full reports on Friday morning.
Nothing but ’net
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg continues to face scrutiny for policy decisions at Facebook, but the company will be looking to move past some of its recent controversies with its Wednesday report. With regulatory fines in the rearview mirror, at least for now, the company is projected to post its first quarter of earnings growth since December 2018. One topic of interest on the company’s earnings call will be the future of its Libra cryptocurrency efforts now that major payments players like Mastercard Inc. MA, +0.54% , PayPal Holdings Inc. PYPL, +2.17% , Visa Inc. V, +0.96% and others have all dropped out.
For Alphabet, spending trends will be an area of focus as capital expenditures and operating expenditures have been rising on an absolute basis. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey’s Youssef Squali sees capital expenditures starting to level off, however, while operating spending will likely keep rising. Alphabet’s numbers come out on Monday afternoon.
After a blockbuster beginning to its time on Wall Street, Beyond Meat Inc. BYND, -0.88% shares have started to calm down, ending last week at less than half its peak price, but they are still trading for more than four times the IPO price. One of the biggest reasons for optimism is the test run of the company’s meatless burgers at McDonald’s Corp. MCD, -0.72% restaurants, even though that may not lead to permanent placement of the patties at McDonald’s restaurants.
Other rookies that will report this week include Lyft Inc. LYFT, +1.88% on Wednesday and Pinterest Inc. PINS, +0.35% on Thursday. On the other side of the age spectrum, General Electric Co. GE, +0.56% will report on Wednesday.
A healthy slate
Pfizer and Merck will not be the only pharmaceutical company to report this week, after Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ, +0.67% retroactive earnings cut from an opioid settlement set the sector back. Distributor McKesson Corp. MCK, +0.25% reports Wednesday morning and may provide further update on its side of the opioid settlement. Amgen Inc. AMGN, +0.00% reports Tuesday, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. BMY, +1.12% and Celgene Corp. CELG, +0.66% are both on the Thursday docket, and AbbVie Inc. ABBV, -0.35% closes out the week with a Friday report.