US earnings season in full flow with Apple, Google and Microsoft
Another busy few days on the US corporate earnings season calendar lies ahead with this week’s focus squarely on technology stocks, says Peter Garnry, Saxo Bank’s head of equity strategy.
Google (GOOG:Nasdaq) starts the ball rolling on Tuesday. The story here will extend beyond its push into mobile phones: much market interest will focus on the state of internet advertising demand. Any sign of growth in this sector would be a positive signal in that it would indicate that companies are feeling more confident and are willing to spend more on advertising.
Wednesday sees what is shaping up to be the news of the week: Apple’s (AAPL: Nasdaq) earnings report for the first quarter of 2013. (Apple’s reporting schedule does not follow the calendar year). Expectations as to the earnings potential of the world’s largest company (by market capitalisation) have been under pressure for months, with the main culprit being the success of rivals in luring customers away from Apple’s propriety operating system iOS. The Android platform has become extremely popular; Nokia’s (NOK:Nyse) new Lumia smartphone is being well received and Apple also faces tough competition from Samsung (SSNLF:OTC).
Saxo Bank, however, believes the Apple stock still has some momentum and could provide an upside surprise particularly in light of new rumours suggesting it will launch three or four smaller and cheaper iPhones this year.
Thursday’s agenda includes earnings reports from Nokia and Microsoft (MSFT:Nasdaq). While Nokia is far from the behemoth it once was, the success of its new smartphones lends interest. Microsoft, meanwhile, is more diversified with a range encompassing enterprise software, phones, the entertainment business and online business. Because it is being challenged on multiple fronts market participants will be especially keen to hear chief executive Steve Ballmer’s outlook for coming months.
Friday sees the last significant earnings report of this week - Proctor & Gamble. This release is especially noteworthy because this company has a huge range of products in the majority of global markets and is therefore seen as a bell-weather of consumer demand.