Oct 21, 2018

This week is all about tech earnings

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

This week will be busy on the corporate earnings front, with more than 30% of the S&P 500 reporting.

What to watch: Tech will consume most of the conversation surrounding earnings with reports from two "FANG" companies — Google parent Alphabet and Amazon — plus Microsoft, Twitter and Snap.

The big themes

Advertising: Analysts expect Google's total paid clicks to grow from the year-ago period, but drop from last quarter. Its key "cost per clicks" metric is expected to continue to sliding, which could hurt margins.

  • Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, expects Facebook's and Amazon's dominance in search to "continue to pressure the rate of Google's growth," per a recent note.

Cloud: The momentum of Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s Amazon Web Services will be front and center.

  • One example of how some are considering the stakes: Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush, wrote in a note this week that Microsoft could become the next $1 trillion company, thanks to a boost from its cloud offerings. (Microsoft’s current market cap stands at $834 billion, as of Friday.)
  • As for Amazon's cloud business, Amazon Web Services could notch its fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating growth.

Prime time: Last quarter, Amazon reported its biggest quarterly profit in company history, thanks to its cloud and advertising business. It's safe to say the bar is high.

  • This week's results will include revenue from its Prime Day event in July, which might give Amazon a bump.
  • Expect Amazon executives to field questions about the recent wage hike for employees.

User growth: This is critical for Snap amid broad concerns about declining usage, but in a recent note, Pivotal Research's Brian Wieser said "it's not too late for the company to reverse recent usage trends."

  • Meantime, Twitter is rapidly shutting down fake accounts, and that might weigh on its user metrics — as it did last quarter.

What else to watch: Intel is also set to release quarterly results. Other non-tech names reporting include Hasbro (and rival Mattel), construction equipment company Caterpillar, AT&T and Verizon.

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