The Q3 earnings season has been grabbing eyeballs not only because it is turning out to be an encouraging one after five straight quarters of earnings declines but it has also coincided with the much-talked about Presidential election, wherein Donald Trump triumphed over Hillary Clinton. We are almost at the tail end of the reporting cycle, with most sectors about to draw their curtains, but the main show remains for the Retail/Wholesale sector.
Per our Earnings Preview report as of Nov 11, earnings for the total S&P 500 companies will improve 3.4% from the year-ago period, with total revenue rising 1.5%.
As per the report, out of the 455 S&P 500 companies that have come up with their quarterly numbers, approximately 72.7% posted positive earnings surprises, while 55.4% beat top-line expectations. Total earnings for these index members were up 3.9% from the year-ago quarter, while revenues increased 2.7%.
The performance of the index is not restricted to a single sector, and of the 16 Zacks sectors, four are expected to witness an earnings decline in the third quarter. Of these, Auto, Oil/Energy and Transportation are likely to be a major drag. However, the Retail/Wholesale sector is witnessing a significant improvement.
Out of 43 retail companies, 24 have posted a positive earnings surprise of 54.2%, while 37.5% beat revenue expectations. While total earnings for these 24 retailers were up 12.7% from the year-ago quarter, revenues increased 8.6%.
Total earnings for the Retail/Wholesale sector are estimated to rise 5.9%, whereas revenues are projected to improve 5.2%. So, let’s see what awaits the following retail stocks that are queued up for earnings releases on Nov 16.
Lowe's Companies, Inc. (LOW - Free Report) , the world’s second-largest home improvement retailer has registered an average miss of 0.4% in the trailing four quarters.
Our proven model does not conclusively show that Lowe's is likely to beat earnings estimates in third-quarter fiscal 2016. A stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.
Lowe's has an Earnings ESP of -1.04% as the Most Accurate estimate is at 95 cents, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at 96 cents. Moreover, the company carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). We caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.
With regard to the home improvement retailing business, Lowe’s faces intense competition from specialty and mass retailers and other online retailers. We note that Lowe’s posted dismal results in the second quarter, delivering a negative earnings surprise of 3.5%. Consequently, management lowered its fiscal 2016 earnings outlook. It projected fiscal 2016 earnings to be $4.06 per share, down from $4.11 predicted earlier. (Read more: Lowe's Q3 Earnings: Is a Disappointment in Store?)
Next, let’s take a sneak peek at Target Corp. (TGT - Free Report) , an operator of general merchandise stores. The company has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 3.5% in the trailing four quarters.
Target has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%, with both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate pegged at 83 cents. It carries a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
While a favorable Zacks Rank increases the predictive power of ESP, a 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.
Target has undertaken a series of initiatives, such as the development of omni-channel capacities, diversification and localization of assortments, along with emphasis on smaller format stores, all of which will likely help augment its performance in third-quarter fiscal 2016. However, the competitive retail landscape and lower discretionary spending may weigh upon its performance. (Read more: Target Q3 Earnings: Target Q3 Earnings: Can the Stock Pull a Surprise?)
Finally, let’s see what’s in store for L Brands, Inc. (LB - Free Report) , a specialty retailer of women’s intimate and other apparel, beauty and personal care products. The company has outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 8.6% in the trailing four quarters.
Our proven model does not conclusively show that L Brands is likely to beat earnings estimates in third-quarter fiscal 2016. The company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% as both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at 40 cents. L Brands carries a Zacks Rank #3, which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, its ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.
We believe that L Brands’ sustained focus on cost containment, inventory management as well as merchandise and speed-to-market initiatives has kept it afloat in a sluggish consumer environment. However, given the competitive retail landscape, the aggressive promotional strategies undertaken to gain market share may weigh upon the company’s margins. (Read more: L Brands Q3 Earnings Preview: What's in the Cards?)
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