The new year is just around the corner, and there are now less than two weeks left in 2018. It has been a volatile year, and one that most traders will be glad to see end, but before that happens there are still some big companies left to report the results of their most recent quarter.
This will be the last week before the holidays when the earnings season will be very slow. With so few earnings reports during the final weeks of the year each report is important since they will have a greater impact on the overall market.
This week the market will get reports on big names in a range of sectors including semiconductors, auto, athletic and apparel and shipping.
With the holidays upon us, it would be easy to lose focus on the market, but now is the time to be doing you year-end tax planning, setting your goals and plans for the new year, and of course monitoring the day to day news and action of the market. The news will start to dry up as traders begin taking their holiday vacations, and volumes will start to shrink, which is why any move could be dramatic and why we need to pay close attention to any news related to stocks in our portfolio.
Here are five widely held stocks that will report their quarterly numbers this week to pay close attention to.
FedEx (FDX) reports earnings Tuesday. The company will report its fiscal second-quarter numbers after the market close with the consensus calling for earnings of $4.05 per share. During the same period last year the company had earnings of $3.18. FDX has been weak in 2018. The company is sensitive to energy prices, and oil has been very strong for the last year up until the last month. The stock recently took a big hit on news that the head of its FedEx Express unit was leaving the company, but the recent selloff does create an attractive buying opportunity for investors that remain bullish on the stock moving forward. This holiday season is once again setting records for online sales, which is a very good thing for shipping companies and FedEx should benefit from the higher volume of online purchases. FDX is now trading with an incredibly low forward P/E of 9.2, so the stock could easily rally on a strong set of numbers. The street has a whisper number of $4.10, and if the company is able to hit that number the stock should erase a lot of its recent losses. FDX is currently trading at $184.11 with an average price target of $277.88.
Nike (NKE) will report its fiscal second-quarter results Thursday. The company reports after the market closes, and analysts forecast earnings of 45 cents for the quarter, down a penny from the same period last year. Last quarter the company reported mixed results with sales falling short of estimates. Following the mixed report NKE shares took a hit and have traded sideways over the last two months. Earlier in the earnings season Foot Locker (FL) reported a strong set of quarterly numbers and cited strong demand for Nike products as the driving catalyst for the quarter. This is a positive indicator for Nike’s quarter, and the street expects to see a strong report with a whisper number of 50 cents. Wall Street remains bullish on the stock with an average price target of $87.13 versus its current price of $72.53.
Carnival Corp. (CCL)
Cruise ship operator Carnival Corp. (CCL) reports fiscal Q4 numbers on Thursday. Carnival will report before the market open and analysts expect earnings of 69 cents per share for the quarter, up from 63 cents during the same period last year. The stock has been weak in 2018 as a result of rising energy prices, but as oil prices eased over the last month the stock has started to recover from its 52-week low set in late October. Carnival has a good earnings track record with better than expected earnings and sales in each of the last seven quarters and the street expects another earnings beat this quarter with a whisper number of 74 cents. High oil prices are a concern, but strength in the overall economy should continue to support strength in the travel and tourism sector moving forward. Analysts see significant upside potential in the stock with an average price target of $72.09 versus its current price of $56.33.
Micron Technology (MU)
Chip maker Micron Technology (MU) reports fiscal first-quarter earnings Tuesday after the market close. Analysts forecast earnings of $2.90 per share versus $2.45 during the same period last year. The chip sector has been under pressure through the year in reaction to concerns over demand stemming from the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. MU is currently trading just above its 52-week low, but the drop in price has resulted in an incredibly low valuation which creates a lot of upside potential should the company post a solid set of quarterly numbers. MU is now trading with a forward P/E of just 4, so there is a chance for a big rally if traders like what they see in the quarterly report. The street has a whisper number of $2.86, which suggests a small earnings miss. With the possible earnings miss already priced into the stock, MU could gap sharply higher on an in-line or better than expected report as long as results are OK on both the top and bottom line. MU is currently trading at $34.20 with an average price target of $59.68.
Auto retailer CarMax (KMX) is scheduled to report its third-quarter numbers Friday. The company will release its quarterly numbers before the market open with the consensus calling for earnings of $1.01 for the quarter. CarMax earned 81 cents per share during the same period last year. KMX has trended steadily lower after hitting an all-time high at the start of September. CarMax reported better than expected Q2 numbers at the end of September but the better than expected numbers were not good enough to bring enthusiasm back into the stock which is currently in the lower end of its 52-week range. The auto sector has cooled after years of strong growth, and CarMax will need to post very strong numbers for bulls to come back into the stock. The street has a whisper number of $1.03, which is two pennies above the consensus, and the company will need to show earnings of at least that level in order for the stock to stage any sort of recovery following the quarterly report. KMX is now trading at $61.21 and analysts have an average price target of $87.89 on the stock.