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Best Buy Kicks Off Heavy Week of Retail Earnings

Our preview of the upcoming week's earnings reports includes Best Buy (BBY), Nvidia (NVDA) and Dollar General (DG).

The heaviest part of earnings season has passed, but there are still plenty of notable names left to report. Among the biggest companies on this week's earnings calendar are electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY, $70.65), chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA, $163.85) and discount goods chain Dollar General (DG, $189.63).

First-quarter earnings season so far has been solid by just about any measure, says Jeff Buchbinder, equity strategist at independent broker-dealer LPL Financial. 

An impressive 78% of S&P 500 companies have beat earnings estimates for the quarter, slightly outpacing the long-term average of 77%, Buchbinder says. And 74% of S&P 500 firms reported higher-than-expected revenue – beating the five-year average of 69%, he adds.

"In this inflationary environment, the revenue is coming through," the strategist says. "But it is profit margins that were the biggest test for corporate America this quarter, and companies passed that test with flying colors. Not only did margins hold up well quarter-over-quarter – falling less than anticipated – but analysts' estimates for margins going forward still show margin expansion from current levels."

Best Buy Q1 Earnings to Reflect Macro Headwinds, Tough Comps

It has been a heavy stretch for retail earnings, and based on the mixed results from Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT), it was a tougher quarter than initially expected for many in the industry.

"U.S. retailers Target and Walmart presented a grim outlook at their earnings calls," says the BCA Research Daily Insights team. "Although Q1 topline growth surprised to the upside, lingering pandemic supply-chain issues as well as higher freight, fuel and labor costs weighed down on both companies' profits."

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Wall Street will get a closer look at the group this week, with a number of retailers set to report. Among them is electronics retailer Best Buy, slated to unveil its first-quarter results ahead of Tuesday's open. 

"We see more downside than upside risk due to rising inflation and interest rates, affordability issues for key products, the Ukraine war further weighing on consumer confidence, and additional supply-chain issues in China," says Wedbush analyst Seth Basham (Neutral). 

And these pressures, as well as tough stimulus-related year-over-year comparisons, led to a sharp drop in store traffic trends in March, he adds.

For BBY's first-quarter, analysts, on average, are anticipating a 26.9% year-over-year (YoY) drop in earnings to $1.63 per share. Revenue is expected to arrive at $10.4 billion (-10.3% YoY).

Nvidia's Gaming Segment Could Drag on Otherwise Strong Quarter

Nvidia has a strong history of beating Wall Street's estimates on both the top and bottom line. But Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Christopher Rolland (Positive) thinks the semiconductor stock is in for a tougher time when it reports its Q1 results after Wednesday's close. 

"Unlike recent quarters, we believe any significant beat and raise may be capped by gaming headwinds," Rolland says. 

In addition to noteworthy price drops for Nvidia cards over the last year, "we have also witnessed a significant restocking, with all major card families now available at retailers. We believe the 'reopening' is the biggest driver of these changes and presents a potential intermediate-term narrative risk going into the quarter," he adds.

However, Rolland believes weakness in this segment could be offset by strength for data center, which has become even larger than NVDA's gaming segment. "Healthy underlying demand for NVIDIA’s products is being driven by hyperscale cloud computing, AI workloads, natural language processing, deep recommender models and vertical Enterprise products," he says.

Rolland is expecting NVDA to report earnings of $1.30 per share and revenue of $8.1 billion in its first quarter. This compares to consensus estimates for earnings per share of $1.29 (+41.6% YoY) and revenue of $8.1 billion (+43.4% YoY).

Dollar General Stock Spirals Ahead of Q1 Earnings

Dollar General is another retailer that will report earnings this week, with first-quarter results from the discount chain expected out ahead of the May 26 open.

DG stock sold off sharply last week as negative reactions to several retail earnings sparked a sector-wide swoon. Shares of the retail stock are now down around 20% for the year-to-date and have shed almost 27% since hitting a record high near $260 in late April.

What can we expect from Dollar General's Q1 report?

"We believe some of the headwinds highlighted by other players last week also have negative ramifications for DG including increasing cost pressures – fuel and LIFO [last in, first out; a method used to measure inventory] – and mix shifts," says Oppenheimer analyst Rupesh Parikh (Outperform). 

And while management addressed some of these headwinds in mid-March, "we believe weather and even stronger cost pressures on the food and transportation fronts suggest incremental risk vs. prior guidance," Parikh adds. Still, the analyst says he "would buy any dips from here."

Consensus estimates are for Dollar General to report earnings of $2.33 per share (-17.4% YoY) in its first quarter on revenue of $8.7 billion (+3.6% YoY).

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