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Not All of Big Tech Posted Magnificent Results for Q4

Published 05/02/2024, 20:52
Updated 29/08/2023, 15:02
  • Some big tech results fizzled, but there were two standouts last week

  • Nine S&P 500® companies have outlier earnings dates this week - MCD, IEX, EW, MAA, MCK, HSY, COP, TROW, CTLT

  • 1,558 companies expected to report during the second peak week of the Q4 season

Did Meta and Amazon Just Save Earnings Season?

Big tech earnings kicked off earnings season last week and not all of the results were so magnificent. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) got things started on Tuesday, and while both surpassed top and bottom-line expectations, it wasn't enough for investors. Weak advertising revenues for GOOGL resulted in a nearly 6% stock price decline in the wake of the report, and light guidance from Microsoft also didn't go over well with investors. Given the momentum tech had into these reports and rich P/E levels, investors were less willing to forgive minor stumbles. The same went for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) which reported disappointing revenue from China on Thursday, the stock fell over 5% in the hours after the report before climbing back on Friday.

The two standouts for last week were undoubtedly Meta (NASDAQ:META) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), both handily beating expectations on the top and bottom-line.[4] Even sweeter for Meta investors was the announcement of the company's first ever dividend of $0.50 as well as a $50B buyback plan. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also vowed to "keep things lean," a strategy that has worked well for the social media company who successfully pulled off the "year of efficiency" in 2023.

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As a result of better-than-expected reports last week, the FactSet blended S&P 500 EPS consensus now stands at 1.6%, an uptick from -1.4% the week prior.

But that's not all that moved the markets last week, the first Federal Reserve meeting of 2024 ended up being a bust when Chairman Powell indicated they are not ready to begin cutting rates yet. The CME Group FedWatch tool is now predicting a 60% probability of a rate cut at the May 1st meeting, with the likelihood of a March 20th cut falling to 21%.

While markets initially fell after that news on Wednesday, they perked back up after Thursday's tech results and Friday's blockbuster jobs number. Nonfarm Payrolls came in at 353k for January, and unemployment stayed at 3.7%, marking 24 consecutive months of sub-4% unemployment and the longest stretch since the 1960s.

Industrials, Pharma and Consumer Discretionary Take Center Stage​

We get results from a smattering of sectors this week including the restaurant space (McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD), Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE:CMG)), Industrials (Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT), Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE:UBER)), pharma (Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:GILD), Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY)) and always highly anticipated Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS).

Earnings Announcements

Source: Wall Street Horizon

Outlier Earnings Dates this Week​

Academic research shows that when a company confirms a quarterly earnings date that is later than when they have historically reported, it's typically a sign that the company will share bad news on their upcoming call, while moving a release date earlier suggests the opposite.

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This week we get results from a number of large companies on major indexes that have pushed their Q4 2023 earnings dates outside of their historical norms. Nine companies within the S&P 500 confirmed outlier earnings dates for this week, all of which are later than usual and therefore have negative DateBreaks Factors*. Those names are McDonald's Corporation, IDEX Corporation (NYSE:IEX), Edwards Lifesciences Corp (NYSE:EW), Mid-America Apartment Communities (NYSE:MAA), McKesson Corporation (NYSE:MCK), The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), T. Rowe Price Group Inc (NASDAQ:TROW) and Catalent Inc. (NYSE:CTLT).

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