stocks

Apple Among Big-Tech Earnings on Tap This Week

Our preview of the upcoming week's earnings reports includes Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Alphabet (GOOGL), Twitter (TWTR), Amazon.com (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL).

It is going to be a busy stretch for corporate earnings. According to Credit Suisse analysts, there are 316 companies representing nearly three-fifths of the S&P 500's market capitalization set to report over the next two weeks. Included in the bunch are Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, $123.08), Alphabet (GOOGL, $2,754.31), Twitter (TWTR, $61.91), Amazon.com (AMZN, $3,328.86) and Apple (AAPL, $148.98).

"Earnings are coming in better than expected so far," says Savita Subramanian, equity and quant strategist for BofA Securities. "Companies are facing increased cost pressure, but higher sales and operating leverage outweighed cost headwinds." 

While the bulk of earnings beats so far have been from the financial and energy sectors, tech companies – which take up a lot of space on this week's earnings calendar – have been reporting higher margins, she adds.  

Advanced Micro Devices Stock Stages Pre-Earnings Rally

Advanced Micro Devices has been climbing higher since skimming the $100-per-share mark in late-September/early October, with shares of the chipmaker now trading in all-time high territory.

Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Christopher Rolland sees even higher highs ahead for AMD stock, as evidenced by his $130 price target. He also has a Positive (Buy) rating on the shares ahead of the company's third-quarter earnings report, due out after Tuesday's close. 

"Overall, we expect AMD to once again meet/exceed both third-quarter results and fourth-quarter guidance," he says. "A constructive personal computer environment, strong underlying trends, record-high ASPs and well-executed roadmaps have worked in favor of AMD." 

And while Advanced Micro Devices surrendered modest GPU market share to Nvidia in Q3, "an overall elevated GPU demand environment and recent strength in the cryptocurrency markets should act as offsets to the share loss," he adds.

Overall, analysts are projecting consensus third-quarter earnings of 67 cents per share, +63.4% year-over-year (YoY), and revenues of $4.1 billion – 13.9% higher than AMD's year-ago results.

Analysts Upbeat Ahead of Alphabet Earnings

Analysts are anticipating solid year-over-year growth for Alphabet. On the top line, the consensus estimate is for $63.3 billion, up 37.1% from Q3 2020. This will fuel an 18.9% improvement in earnings per share (EPS) to $19.50.

Baird analysts Colin Sebastian and Dalton Kern expect to see strength in YouTube advertising and the adoption of the Google Cloud Platform. They have an Outperform rating on the internet search giant, which is the equivalent of a Buy.

Over at Credit Suisse, analysts believe Google's rollout of free product listings on its shopping tab – which they call a "top-of-funnel move to onboard more merchants" – as well as recently expanded checkout options will increase Q3 conversion rates. They also have an Outperform rating on GOOGL.

Alphabet  will report third-quarter earnings after the Oct. 26 close.

Twitter Earnings in Focus After Snap Shock

Twitter's third-quarter results, scheduled for release after the Oct. 26 close, will likely draw a fair share of attention – especially after Snapchat parent Snap (SNAP) last Thursday reported disappointing third-quarter revenues and unencouraging fourth-quarter guidance. 

This was in part due to the fallout from Apple's (AAPL) new iOS privacy feature, which requires apps to request permission to track users' data, as explained in Friday's free A Step Ahead e-newsletter. BofA Global Research analyst Justin Post sees Snap's results as "cautious for Twitter," but expects "much less relative impact on Twitter given the higher share of brand in its revenue mix."

He recently reiterated his Buy rating on the stock "as Twitter has over 80% revenue exposure to brand revenues, revenue growth in the second quarter showed early signs of the brand spend recovery and we think second-half brand advertising strength is possible as events return."

Post expects TWTR to report third-quarter revenues of $1.29 billion and earnings of 27 cents per share. By comparison, the consensus estimates among the pros on Wall Street are for revenues of $1.29 billion (+65.5% YoY) and EPS of 15 cents, down 21% from Q3 2020.

Amazon.com Stares Down Tough Comps

Amazon.com faces another quarter of tough year-over-year comparisons when it reports earnings after the Oct. 28 close. 

And analysts, on average, expect AMZN to unveil third-quarter earnings of $8.93 per share compared to the $12.37 in EPS it reported in Q3 2020. Revenues, on the other hand, are projected to grow 16.1% YoY to $111.6 billion. 

However, Wedbush analysts "expect third-quarter results above the high-end of guidance driven by seasonal trends, e-commerce share gains, a recovering economy and robust advertiser demand," even with Prime Day being pulled forward to the second quarter this year (it typically occurs in Q3). 

Additionally, "Amazon should continue to benefit from Apple's recent privacy changes as advertisers turn to a company that is able to track the behavior of over 200 million Prime customers, including which ads they saw or clicked or purchased from, regardless of whether or not the user chose to opt into being tracked by Apple," they say.

The group has higher expectations for Amazon's third-quarter earnings report than the consensus, projecting EPS of $13.43 on $116.0 billion in revenues.

Will Supply Chain Issues Weigh on Apple Earnings?

When Apple reported fiscal third-quarter earnings last July, it blew estimates out of the water ($1.30 EPS vs. $1.01 estimated; $81.4 billion in revenues vs. $73.3 billion estimated). However, it also warned that fiscal fourth-quarter results – expected after Thursday's close – will likely not be as strong due in part to supply chain issues. 

Deutsche Bank's Sidney Ho (Buy) agrees that "recent news on supply constraints will likely pressure AAPL's near-term results. We therefore expect AAPL to report fiscal fourth-quarter results that are below our above-consensus estimates." 

However, "we do not believe demand is perishable, but rather being pushed into the following quarter," Ho adds. 

For Apple's fiscal fourth quarter, analysts, on average, are looking for $84.8 billion in revenues, up 31.1% year-over-year, and earnings of $1.24 per share, or a 70%  improvement over what the iPhone maker reported this time last year.

Karee Venema was long AAPL as of this writing.

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