Apple Inc., the world's most valuable company, is on pace to post sharply higher earnings for its April-June quarter, which is surprising given the company typically sees its strongest growth in the fall during the launch of its flagship iPhone products. Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp., the world's largest computer software company, is unexpectedly on a new phase of growth, thanks in part to solid revenue in its cloud business, despite global personal computer sales suffering their steepest declines in two years during last quarter.
This week marks the pinnacle for earnings season, with nearly 130 companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index scheduled to release financial results. Of the more than 60 companies in the S&P 500 that reported earnings so far, 70 percent have topped forecasts through the close of trading Monday, according to earnings tracker Thomson Reuters.
All told, earnings from S&P 500 companies in the second quarter are expected to dip 1.9 percent from a year ago, according to Reuters data. “We’re expecting a B+ type earnings season for overall tech,” said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets.
However, going into the second half of the year, Apple and Microsoft continue to stand out as two favorites in the tech sector.
Apple is the “gold standard of technology,” Ives said, explaining that the tech giant continues to see big opportunities over the next year to gain more share among consumers, thanks to its launch into wearables with its Apple Watch and its new streaming service Apple Music, along with the launch of its new set of iPhones this fall.
Apple’s growth is accelerating, driven by booming iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales that have so far fueled the company's two best quarters ever. Not only is Apple seeing continued global demand for its iPhone 6, the company is also seeing strong growth in China, a consumer base the company previously struggled to break into the past few years.
Wall Street is also becoming more optimistic about strong growth at Microsoft. “We continue to view Microsoft as a standout in terms of the cloud, success into Windows 10 and the vision CEO Satya Nadella has scripted at the company,” Ives said.
Currency issues remain for U.S. multinationals as a stronger U.S. dollar isn't exactly good news for American corporate bottom lines. The robust dollar over the last year has been a huge drag on growth for the benchmark S&P 500 because the index’s companies derive more than 40 percent their revenue overseas. But many companies have figured out how to hedge against it, Ives said.
Here’s a deeper look at the tech companies reporting this week.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) posted quarterly profit and revenue that surpassed Wall Street estimates in the January-March quarter, marking the iPhone maker's second-best quarter ever. Wall Street expects Apple to sell 50 million iPhone in the last quarter, and record 4.5 million to 5 million sales of its Apple Watch, according to FBR Capital Markets.
Although online sales for the Apple Watch began globally in April, the wearable device didn't hit retail stores in the U.S. until mid-June, two weeks before the end of the quarter.
Apple is forecast to report fiscal third-quarter net income $10.3 billion, or earnings per share of $1.78, on revenue of $49.1 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. That compares with a profit of $10.2 billion, or earnings per share of $1.28, on revenue of $37.4 billion a year ago.
Shares of Apple have soared nearly 40 percent in the last 12 months.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) posted quarterly profit and sales in April that beat Wall Street's expectations on strong growth in hardware and cloud computing. However, Microsoft’s profit and revenue for the April-June quarter are expected to fall short of analysts’ forecasts, dragged down by a $7.6 billion write-down and restructuring in the company’s Nokia mobile-phone operation.
Wall Street projects Microsoft to report a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $994 million, or earnings per share of 19 cents, on revenue of $22.1 billion, compared with a profit of $4.6 billion, or earnings per share of 55 cents, on revenue of $23.4 billion a year ago.
Shares of Microsoft have gained 5 percent in the last 12 months.
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) missed quarterly earnings and revenue forecasts in the first three months of the year, as display revenue, excluding traffic acquisition costs, was $381 million last quarter, a 7 percent drop compared to the first quarter of 2014.
For the April-June quarter, Wall Street projects Yahoo to report fiscal second-quarter net income of $83.3 million, or earnings per share of 8 cents, on revenue of $1.03 billion, compared with a profit of $269.71 million, or earnings per share of 26 cents, on revenue of $1.04 billion a year ago.
Shares of Yahoo have lost more than 20 percent so far this year.
Although Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) topped earnings and revenue forecasts in the January-March quarter, the company’s profit plunged 46 percent. The chipmaker also slashed its annual earnings forecast for the second time this year in April, due to declining sales of its Snapdragon chips.
A prolonged period of dollar strengthening hurts U.S. multinational corporations when they convert foreign revenue to dollars, thereby slowing earnings growth. Some companies will feel the pain more than others as Qualcomm’s international sales account for more than 90 percent of its annual revenue.
Wall Street projects Qualcomm to report fiscal third-quarter net income $1.4 billion, or earnings per share of 78 cents, on revenue of $5.8 billion, compared with a profit of $2.2 billion, or earnings per share of $1.31, on revenue of $6.8 billion a year ago.
Shares of Qualcomm have lost around 20 percent in the last 12 months.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) turned in an earnings loss last quarter in line with estimates, while revenue topped forecasts. Meanwhile, the e-commerce giant revealed sales figures for its cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services, for the first time.
Wall Street projects Amazon to report a fiscal second-quarter loss of $47.49 million, or earnings per share of 12 cents, on revenue of $22.4 billion, compared with a loss of $126 million, or earnings per share of 27 cents, on revenue of $19.3 billion a year ago.
Shares of Amazon have soared more than 55 percent since January.