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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks and Visa

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – July 28, 2021 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) , Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Free Report) , Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Free Report) , Starbucks Corporation (SBUX - Free Report) and Visa Inc. (V - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Earnings Beats for Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft; Only GOOGL Up

A huge afternoon for earnings results takes over Tuesday's narrative. Only Alphabet is in the green following earnings releases, however; the others were apparently either "sell the news" or are awaiting guidance and Q&A on the companies' conference calls. We'll start right at the top:

Apple doubled its earnings per share in fiscal Q3 from the year-ago quarter to $1.30 per share, and well ahead of the $1.00 in the Zacks consensus estimate. Top-line sales of $81.4 billion grew 36% year over year, and bettered the $73.14 billion analysts were expecting.  Gross margins for the company reached 43.3% in the quarter, on $39.57 billion in iPhone sales, which crushed the estimated $34 billion.

Elsewhere, Services revenues posted a better-than-expected $17.5 billion, while other goods came in as follows: Macs $8.24 billion, iPad $7.4 billion and Wearables/Other $8.8 billion. China sales grew 16% in the quarter. Apple has $190.6 in cash as of the end of fiscal Q3. The company does not issue guidance in its earnings statement, but will likely have plenty to discuss in its conference call.

Alphabet posted a blowout Q2 Tuesday afternoon on a 69% surge in advertising revenues: $27.76 per share was far better than the $19.89 expected and the $10.13 per share reported a year ago. Revenues were also stellar: $61.88 billion, which blasted past the $46.07 billion estimate. Operating income grew a better-than-expected 19.3%, with Google Search up 62% in the quarter.

YouTube ads led the way forward for the premier global search engine, as Google Cloud revenues also brought in more during the quarter than expected. The year-over-year comps are off a Q2 2020 mired in the throes of the pandemic, of course, but even accounting for this, analysts were far lower in their projections. Guidance for Q3 and full-year 2021 are expected on the conference call.

Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat told CNBC ahead of the company's call that its huge windfall in ad revenues were led by Retail, Travel and Financial Services, but that it is too early to forecast long-term trends. This would suggest Google was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Great Reopening spending blitz just as summer vacation plans were being made in the U.S. and elsewhere. Alphabet shares are now riding fresh all-time highs.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft also outperformed expectations in its fiscal Q4 report, with $2.17 per share well beyond the $1.90 analysts had been looking for and the $1.46 per share a year ago. Revenues also beat, bringing in $46.15 billion, up from the $44.07 billion anticipated. Azure, its cloud business, grew the company's top-line 21% on its own. Azure grew 51% for the quarter.

Microsoft's LinkedIn business also grew 51% in Q4, offset somewhat by a -3% drop in Windows original equipment. Software and Enterprise demand remained strong in the quarter. Guidance will be forthcoming on the company's call. However, shares are down -2.7% on the news in late trading. The stock is +31.6% year to date and +41.8% from a year ago at this time.

Starbucks posted a big beat in fiscal Q3 on both top and bottom lines Tuesday afternoon, with earnings of $1.01 per share easily beating the Zacks consensus 77 cents and another orbit beyond last-year's pandemic-challenged -46 cents per share. Revenues of $7.50 billion in the quarter outpaced the $7.23 billion anticipated, on Global Comps up 73% — much higher than expected. This was led by 83% gains in U.S. same-store sales.

Beyond Global Comps — which are now looking for 18-21% gains in Q4, higher than expected — International sales grew 41%, and China was +19%. Cold beverages surprised in Q3, accounting for 73% of quarterly drink sales. Starbucks has not missed a quarterly consensus earnings estimate in six years. However, shares sold off 3.6% in after-hours trading. Starbucks is +23% year to date, +69% from this time last year.

And Visa, a company with no earnings misses anywhere on its chart going back more than a decade, topped estimates on earnings — $1.49 per share versus $1.33 expected and $1.06 per share a year ago — on $6.13 billion in sales, beating the $5.83 billion estimate. The company, which did not record guidance in its fiscal Q3 earnings statement, credited the Great Reopening with robust Debit and Ecommerce businesses. Q3 Payments volume grew 34%.

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