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Newell Brands (NWL) Down 2.5% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Rebound?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Newell Brands (NWL - Free Report) . Shares have lost about 2.5% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Newell Brands due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

Newell Brands Beats Q4 Earnings & Sales Estimates

Newell Brands posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2020 results, wherein both bottom and top lines improved year over year. Despite the challenging economic situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, results gained from solid sales growth, driven by robust consumption patterns, improved margins and a strong cash flow. Notably, strength in Food, Commercial and Appliances & Cookware businesses offset sluggishness in the Writing unit stemming from the pandemic-led stay-at-home trend.

Going ahead, management foresees healthy demand in a few high-growth categories. Also, it is on track with product innovation in sync with the changing consumer trends, increased investments in omnichannel capabilities and sustaining top-line momentum. 

Q4 Highlights

Newell Brands’ fourth-quarter normalized earnings per share were 56 cents, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 48 cents. However, the metric advanced 33.3% from 42 cents earned in the year-ago period.

Net sales grew 2.5% year over year to $2,689 million and surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,635 million. The uptick can be attributable to solid core sales to the tune of 4.9% as the majority of business units and all regions witnessed core sales growth. On the flip side, unfavorable currency along with store closures and divestitures remained headwinds.

Normalized gross margin contracted 60 basis points (bps) to 32.9% due to the adverse impacts of business unit mix. Meanwhile, normalized operating margin expanded 10 bps to 11.4% year over year.

Segment Details

The Appliances & Cookware segment (including Writing and Baby) recorded net sales of $577 million in the fourth quarter, up 1.2% from the prior-year quarter. This is mainly due to the segment’s core sales growth of 4.2%, which more than offset unfavorable foreign currency.

Net sales in the Home Soutions segment (including Outdoor & Recreation, Home Fragrance, and Connected Home & Security) totaled $695 million, up 7.3% from the prior-year period. The segment’s top line was aided by favorable currency impacts and core sales growth of 12.4%.  This was somewhat offset by the exit of 77 underperforming Yankee Candle retail stores in 2020. Also, both Food and Home Fragrance businesses witnessed core sales growth.

The Learnings and Development segment recorded net sales of $670 million, which fell 4.6% from the prior-year quarter. This resulted from a 2.2% decline in core sales stemming from divestitures, which more than offset the positive impact from foreign currency.

Net sales in the Commercial Solution segment were $498 million, up 14.2% from the prior-year period. Core sales growth of 13.8%, driven by solid performance in both Commercial and Connected Home & Security business categories, contributed to the segment’s top line.

The Outdoor and Recreation segment recorded net sales of $249 million, which increased 7.6% from the prior-year quarter. This resulted from a core sales decline of 7.1% year over year.

Business Development

Management highlighted that its cookware business, which was usually reported within the Appliances & Cookware segment, will now be aligned with the Food business unit within the Home Solutions segment, effective the first quarter of 2021. Following this change, the Appliances & Cookware segment will be renamed to Home Appliances.

Other Financial Details

Newell Brands ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $981 million, long-term debt of $5,141 million and shareholders’ equity of $3,874 million, excluding non-controlling interests of $26 million. In the twelve months ending Dec 31, 2020, the company generated operating cash flow of $1,432 million. That said, it has liquidity of more than $2.5 billion, which is likely to help it stay afloat amid this crisis.

Looking Ahead

Driven by impressive fourth-quarter 2020 results, management has issued guidance for 2021 and the first quarter. For first-quarter 2021, the company expects normalized earnings of 12-14 cents, with operating margin expansion of 90-130 bps to 6.9-7.3%. Further, net sales are envisioned to be $2.04-$2.08 billion, with core sales witnessing high-single-digit growth. For 2021, the company anticipates sales to be $9.5-$9.7 billion, with core sales growth of low-single digit. Normalized earnings are forecasted to be $1.55-$1.65 per share, with normalized operating margin witnessing 30-60 bps expansion to 11.4-11.7%. Also, cash flow is estimated to be $1 billion.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates review have trended upward during the past month. The consensus estimate has shifted 13.89% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

Currently, Newell Brands has a great Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with an F. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top quintile for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. Notably, Newell Brands has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.


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