Earnings season can bring about major risks and opportunities. When companies report financial results or guidance that misses the mark for investors, the stock price can drop sharply and possibly provide an opportunity to buy cheap or a chance to trade for a potential rebound. A number of companies in the tech sector recently saw a big drop in the stock price after their earnings report, and that presents new opportunities:
Zynga, Inc. (ZNGA) shares were trading around $12.50 at the start of April, but it has trended lower and then dropped sharply again after earnings. Zynga reported a loss of 10 cents per share for the first quarter of 2012. Expenses are growing, and that is a concern for some investors. On the bright side, it saw revenues jump about 32%. Zynga released several new games recently, and it has some of the most popular games played on Facebook. Since the social gaming industry is still in the early years, it is premature to take a strong position, but this company has been a leader. Thanks to the recent IPO, it also has a solid balance sheet, with about $1 billion in cash and no debt. This will give Zynga the resources to develop games and maintain a lead over the growing field of competitors. An analyst at JP Morgan (JPM) recently upgraded the stock to "overweight" and set a $14 price target for Zynga shares. This looks like a ideal time to buy a few shares for a possible rebound.
Key Data Points For Zynga From Yahoo Finance: Current Share Price: $8.97 52-Week Range: $7.97 to $15.91 Dividend: none 2012 Earnings Estimate: 27 cents per share 2013 Earnings Estimate: 37 cents per share P/E Ratio: about 30 times earnings
MetroPCS Communications (PCS) shares plunged after the company reported a loss of $98.4 million, or $1.28 per share for the first quarter of 2012. The company seems to be feeling the effects of increased competition in the pre-paid phone market. It also has seen profit margins shrink due to phone subsidies for new subscribers. Another issue could be that it does not offer the very popular iPhone, and although it does offer other smart phones, this could limit growth for the company. A number of analysts rushed to lower price targets and downgrade the stock after the earnings report, but it might be poised to partially rebound in the next couple days. A number of large telecommunication companies are looking for acquisitions in order to increase spectrum bandwidth. Some investors believe that MetroPCS could be a buyout target for its bandwidth. The stock could also rebound if profit margins increase and the company recently raised prices for its unlimited plan. This could result in higher profits in the coming quarters. At less than $7 per share, the downside risk is greatly reduced, and it might be a ideal time to buy for a short to medium-term rebound.
Key Data Points For MetroPCS From Yahoo Finance: Current Share Price: $7.01 52-Week Range: $6.79 to $18.79 Dividend: none 2012 Earnings Estimate: 85 cents per share 2013 Earnings Estimate: $1.04 per share P/E Ratio: about 9 times earnings
SanDisk Corp. (SNDK) shares also dropped sharply after the company reported earnings of $114.4 million, or 46 cents a share, for the first quarter of 2012. This was down from $224.1 million, or 92 cents a share, in the same period last year. Sandisk makes flash-memory products, and it appears that these are becoming a bit of a commodity. The company said costs rose and gross margins dropped from about 42.6% down to 34.5%. It expects sales to improve later in 2012, as technology products often see a boost from seasonal and holiday sales. However, I would not rush to buy this stock because sales and profits fell so sharply this quarter when compared to last year. Earnings estimates have come down along with the stock price and yet the shares still trade for about 18 times earnings, not exactly cheap for this market. It might be smart to wait for sales to show signs of stabilization before trying to do any bargain hunting.
Key Data Points For Sandisk From Yahoo Finance: Current Share Price: $37.58 52-Week Range: $32.24 to $53.46 Dividend: none 2012 Earnings Estimate: $2.02 per share 2013 Earnings Estimate: $3.14 per share P/E Ratio: about 18 times earnings
Data is sourced from Yahoo Finance. No guarantees or representations are made. Please consult a financial advisor before making investments.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.