Stocks reached record highs last week, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) gaining more than 1%. The two indexes are each showing returns just below 10% so far in 2017.
Earnings season spins into high gear over the next few trading days, with dozens of second-quarter reports due to come out. A few of the most anticipated will be from Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), IBM (NYSE: IBM), and eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY).
Let’s look at what investors can expect from these announcements.
Netflix on Monday
The week starts off with what could be a dramatic earnings report from Netflix. The streaming-video giant is expected to announce a sharp jump in subscriber gains on Monday afternoon, to 3.2 million from 1.7 million a year ago. Yet that bounce will be mainly driven by a content-release shift that pushed the House of Cards season premier into the second quarter from the first quarter in 2016.
Still, the business is clearly on the upswing. Netflix is likely to mark crossing 100 million global subscribers in the quarter this week after adding roughly 8.2 million new users over the past six months. Most of the growth is coming from international markets, which, at less than 50% of the member base, still have plenty of room to expand as the company strengthens its branding and local-content portfolios.
On the financial side, investors are looking forward to Netflix generating serious profits this year as operating margin improves to 7% of sales from 4%. They’ll also be keeping a wary eye on a cash-flow figure that’s projected to reach a $2 billion outflow as the company spends aggressively on adding to its exclusive-content portfolio.
IBM on Tuesday
IBM announces its second-quarter results on Tuesday afternoon. Big Blue’s stock is trailing the market so far this year as it struggles to transition its massive business away from legacy hardware into a cloud-platform and cognitive-solutions focus.
Its most recent quarterly report wasn’t cheered by investors. Overall revenue dipped 3% despite sharp growth in the cloud business. IBM also posted an almost 4 percentage-point slump in profitability as net income fell 13%.
This week, investors will be looking for evidence that CEO Ginni Rometty and her executive team are steering the operations toward a brighter, software-and-services-dominated future. A few attractive areas they’re targeting include cloud and mobile practices, along with emerging technologies like blockchain and quantum. To help get ahead in these niches, IBM is raising its research and development spending. Management’s short-term expectations have stayed put so far this year, though, with earnings projected to stop at $11.95 per share as free cash flow holds flat.
eBay on Thursday
Online-selling-platform eBay will reveal its second-quarter business trends on Thursday. Shareholders are trouncing the market in 2017 thanks to positive operating momentum. Three months ago, eBay logged a 4% jump in its pool of active buyers to mark its best growth in that metric in nearly a year. The e-commerce giant’s gross-merchandise volume saw healthy gains, too, with help from what management called a “relatively robust consumer-spending environment.”
eBay isn’t relying solely on industry growth to push the business higher. The company is busy making upgrades to its platform, including improving the mobile app and restructuring product pages to provide more tailored shopping results. eBay’s latest forecast calls for 2017 sales growth of between 5% and 7%, and investors are hoping that projection is confirmed — if not raised — this week.
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