3 Earnings Reports to Watch Next Week

Many companies report next week, but these three earnings reports are worth highlighting

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Editor’s note: InvestorPlace’s Earnings Reports to Watch is updated weekly. Please check back next week for our latest earnings picks.

Earnings season has ended, and once again, stocks have rallied. One might think that a lighter earnings calendar would be troublesome for stocks, given that news for U.S. corporations remains mostly positive. It hasn’t played out that way.

Indeed, stocks began to gain in early June once earnings reports had slowed to a trickle. The S&P 500 then turned south in late July — at the peak of earnings season. Last week, with reports for major companies pretty much complete, U.S. equities again bounced: as of this writing, the S&P 500 is back above 3,000.

It has been an odd trend, but one that suggests the rally in stocks has at least a month to go. Interestingly, the earnings calendar does give investors a chance to check that thesis next week.

There actually are several key companies reporting next week that will give data on key areas of the economy and the market. Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) can give a read on the confidence of the consumers who are supporting the economy. Results from office furniture manufacturers Herman Miller (NASDAQ:MLHR) and Steelcase (NYSE:SCS) should show confidence on the business side. Reaction to the second-quarter report from Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) will highlight investor attitudes toward, and patience with, newer IPO stocks, some of which have struggled.

But three earnings reports next week look even more helpful in trying to judge investor sentiment at the moment. A classic tech growth stock will get another challenge. An economic bellwhether delivers an always-important release. And a consumer leader will update on the progress of its turnaround in an industry that has seen some trouble. For investors trying to figure out if history will repeat itself, these are the three earnings reports to watch now.

FedEx (FDX)

Earnings Report Date: Tuesday, September 17, after market close

Earnings from FedEx (NYSE:FDX) historically have been seen as a proxy for corporate sentiment. After all, FedEx revenue was pretty much directly linked to U.S. business spending. Strong results from FedEx usually meant confident executives and a positive macroeconomic outlook.

FedEx doesn’t quite have the status it used to, but its report still matters. FedEx management actually has been bearish in recent quarters, owing in large part to trade war issues. With the domestic economy still strong, management might have different news to deliver this time around. And a bullish stance from FedEx could be enough of a catalyst to give U.S. equities a further boost.

Meanwhile, the quarter is a key one for FDX stock itself. FDX shares have been stuck in a range since December. They’re down over one-third from early 2018 highs. Investors are worried about pending competition from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and a potential cyclical turn. For a rally into earnings to hold, FedEx needs to put up a strong quarter and inspire some confidence from investors in itself.

Adobe (ADBE)

STARS Stocks to Buy for the Long Run: Adobe (ADBE)
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Earnings Report Date: Tuesday, September 17, after market close

Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) seemed to get the benefit of the doubt after its fiscal second-quarter report in June. The combination of soft guidance and a high valuation often sends a stock tumbling, but ADBE actually rose after the report, and kept climbing.

In a seeming reversal of the market-wide trend, it’s been a lack of news that’s been trouble for Adobe stock since. ADBE has pulled back 11% from late July highs, and heads into earnings near a three-month low.

With that pullback, Adobe stock looks more intriguing at 28x forward earnings. But at that multiple, and with growth likely to slow at some point, ADBE still has valuation concerns. That makes earnings an interesting test. Does a strong earnings report lead Adobe stock to rebound? If the answer is no, that suggests valuation is becoming a more important factor in the cloud space. That would make Adobe earnings an omen for other stocks across tech.

General Mills (GIS)

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Earnings Report Date: Wednesday, September 18, before market open

Earnings from General Mills (NYSE:GIS), too, will impact entire sectors. GIS stock was collapsing less than a year ago, but increasing investor optimism toward its turnaround, and its pivot into pet food, has led to strong performance in 2019.

It’s important to the industry that General Mills keep performing with its fiscal Q1 report on Wednesday morning. After it looked last year like the consumer packaged goods space was in trouble, many stocks have rallied. There’s a growing belief that the industry can adapt to competition from smaller, focused brands — and from private label rivals being backed by supermarket customers.

General Mills numbers need to be good enough to keep that confidence intact. This is a stock up 39% so far this year in a sector that, with a few exceptions, generally has rallied. Investors clearly are pricing in better news going forward. If General Mills can’t deliver, there’s a long way down to go.

As of this writing, Vince Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.


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