We are in the final leg of the third quarter earnings season with 455 S&P 500 members, representing 91% of the index’s total market capitalization, having already reported their results.
As of Nov 11, total earnings of these companies were up 3.9% on a year-over-year basis (72.7% of the companies beat EPS estimates) while total revenue was up 2.7% on a year-over-year basis (55.4% of the companies beat top-line estimates).
The earnings recession is expected to end in the third-quarter with positive growth arriving ahead of schedule. The third quarter can be interpreted as an inflection point where the growth trend is finally shifting from the negative territory to the positive territory.
Notably, after five consecutive quarters of decline, earnings are finally back in the positive territory and the overall picture is that of improvement. Moreover, the proportion of companies beating both the topline and the bottomline estimates are modestly tracking above historical periods.
As per our latest Earnings Preview report, overall third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are anticipated to be up 3.4% (compared to an earlier estimate of a rise of 3.3%) from the year-ago quarter on revenues that are estimated to increase 1.5%.
While solid results from the finance sector buoyed the index higher, sluggish growth from the energy, autos, transportation and technology sectors was a drag.
Coming to the technology sector, overall earnings are expected to be up 4.5% and margins are expected to remain marginally higher at 0.9% this earnings season.
Here we take a look at three technology companies that are set to report their quarterly earnings on Nov 16:
Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO - Free Report) is unlikely to beat first-quarter fiscal 2017 estimates as it has an unfavorable combination of a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and an Earnings ESP of 0.00%.You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.
This is because, as per our proven model, a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) to beat earnings. We caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Strong Sell) going into an earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.
Cisco’s strategy of diversifying its business by introducing software-based networking tools and security services, and relying less on specialized routers and switching equipment appears to be yielding results.
Moreover, partnerships with the likes of salesforce.com (CRM - Free Report) and Pure Storage (PSTG - Free Report) is a positive for the company's top-line growth. The recent acquisition of CloudLock will help it to broaden its efforts and meet the changing compliance as well as security needs.
However, increasing competition and challenges in China remain concerns ahead of the upcoming release.
We note that Cisco’s results compared favorably with the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three out of the last four quarters, resulting in an average positive surprise of 7.95%. (Read More: Can Cisco Systems Pull a Surprise in Q1 Earnings?)
Similarly, NetApp, Inc. (NTAP - Free Report) too is unlikely to beat second-quarter fiscal 2017estimates as it has an unfavorable combination of a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of 0.00%.
NetApp is expected to gain momentum in the flash-based solutions space, with the newly introduced all-flash array. The company has been recognized a Leader in the 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Solid-State Arrays. Additionally, the company’s improving penetration at the mid-size business segment is a positive.
We believe that NetApp’s recent product launches and expanding product portfolio will drive top-line growth in the near term.
However, tepid IT spending for the rest of 2016 raises concerns about the company’s near-term performance. Intensifying competition from Western Digital (WDC - Free Report) and HP Inc. add to its woes going into the quarterly earnings.
Notably, NetApp’s results have beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three out of the preceding four quarters with an average positive surprise of 14.52%. (Read More: NetApp to Post Q2 Earnings: What's in the Cards?)
Semtech Corporation (SMTC - Free Report) too is unlikely to beat third-quarter fiscal 2017 estimates as it has an unfavorable combination of an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Semtech designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors, including Standard Semiconductor Products, Rectifier and Assembly Products and Other Products.
During the last quarter, the company expanded its Neo-Iso product platform with the introduction of two new solid state relays. Notably, Semtech’sLoRa technology witnessed increasing adoptions as the technology was chosen for a new IoT network in New Zealand and by SoftBank in Japan.
Although such developmentsremain positives for the company, growing competition, gold price fluctuations and foreign currency risk remain matter of concerns in the to-be reported quarter.
Notably, Semtech’s results have beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the preceding four quarters. It has an average four-quarter positive surprise of 188.35%.
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