During the earnings season, so many companies report their quarters, that finding the important ones is like trying to find Nemo in a huge, moving stream of fish. I am hoping to clarify which ones should stand out from the rest and try to help you navigate through the mess.
Wednesday, April 18th
Wednesday will be a breather day in earnings season, with the big hitters reporting on other days. Despite this, a couple of major players should catch your eye. First, eBay (EBAY) is set to report and analysts expect them to make $0.52 which I think is too low. They should be able to beat the expectations by a few cents per share. Their revenue has been steadily climbing in the recent quarters and they have been running the business efficiently as of late.
Qualcomm (QCOM) is another company's quarter you should be watching for. They are expected to earn $0.95 this quarter. Because they are one of the companies tied into Apple's (AAPL) growth, I have heard many investors saying that they believe Qualcomm will beat expectations, but I have my doubts. They have already estimated a $0.12 improvement over last quarter and $0.35 improvement over the year-ago quarter. That is a little too bullish for my tastes, especially considering last quarter probably had boosted revenues propped up by the holiday season.
Thursday, April 19th
Financials will take over the spotlight on Thursday with the likes of Bank of America (BAC), Capital One (COF), and Morgan Stanley (MS) reporting. I believe these three should edge out their estimates, although the analysts are all over the board on Capital One & Morgan Stanley to be sure. Bank of America should be able to approach their numbers from the year-ago quarter at around $0.17.
The other company I am keeping an eye out for is Microsoft (MSFT). They are anticipated to earn $0.58 for this reporting quarter, but I expect them to beat that number by a couple cents. They have improved their numbers each quarter for the past fiscal year, and I anticipate them to continue this run. Even if they don't grow earnings from the year-ago quarter, they should be able to come in at $0.61-$0.62. They are a very well run company, and this will show this quarter. I think investors may be surprised this year by the strength of computer sales, increasing the value of Microsoft.
If you are looking for something to speculate going into these earnings days, here is a play to look at. Ebay would be my play to beat their estimates. Last fiscal quarter, they reported a whopping $1.51. Don't expect to see numbers like that this quarter, because their sales were bolstered by a strong holiday season and other special items. This company has had growing revenue for the last couple quarters and I am expecting strong numbers once again.