Stocks declined last week, as both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^SPX) shed roughly 3%. Investors digested bad news on the unemployment front while considering the likelihood of a persistent impact on the economy from COVID-19. The S&P is down 7% heading into the second half of the year, while the Dow is down 12%.
The path of the virus outbreaks will keep Wall Street’s attention over the days ahead, but a few influential stocks will also announce earnings results this week. Let’s look at the developments that could send shares of FedEx(NYSE:FDX), Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), and General Mills (NYSE:GIS) moving.
FedEx’s operating margin
FedEx releases its fiscal 2020 fourth-quarter results on Tuesday afternoon, and investors are eager to learn how COVID-19 affected its shipping business over the last few months. Expectations are low, given that the sales period spans March, April, and May, capturing the greatest economic slump so far in the pandemic. Executives in March pulled their short-term outlook while citing a wide range of negative effects they were already seeing, including slumping package volumes.
Most analysts who follow the stock are looking for revenue to decline by about 7% year over year to $16.5 billion. Sales rose 3% in its last earnings report, which included only a limited impact from the global pandemic.
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Shareholders will be more interested in learning how the shipping giant’s finances are holding up. Metrics like cash flow and operating margin will help tell that story. The stock’s performance from here, meanwhile, might depend mostly on how CEO Frederick Smith and his team describe the company’s rebound potential as it enters fiscal 2021.
Constellation Brands’ cash position
Constellation Brands is likely to show reduced sales in its Wednesday earnings report. Peers in the alcoholic beverage industry have confirmed that challenges brought on by the extended closure of restaurants, bars, and crowded entertainment events like concerts and sports.
The owner of hit imported beer franchises might have some good news to reveal this week, though. It had seen an impressive streak of market share gains heading into the pandemic as consumers flocked toward its premium brands like Corona and Modelo. More success there, combined with its recent release of a hard seltzer, could lift Constellation Brands’ consumption volumes, especially at retail partners like supermarkets and warehouse clubs.
Look for CEO Bill Newlands to discuss the company’s financial flexibility on Wednesday, which the company might use to double-down on growth initiatives like its capacity expansion projects and its big bet on recreational marijuana.
General Mills’ market share
The pandemic has put consumer and investor focus squarely on staple food companies, and General Mills gets its turn in the spotlight on Wednesday. Investors are looking for a major change in its operating trends with organic sales likely to grow by nearly 20% after holding flat in the last pre-COVID-19 quarter. The cereal and snack giant said in mid-May that its U.S. retail sales spiked 45% in March before moderating to 32% in April.
We’ll find out this week whether demand slowed further in the following weeks. Investors will also learn about the negative impact of the outbreak on General Mills’ restaurant and educational sales..
The challenge is for the company to do whatever it can to persuade many of its new customers to continue picking its grocery products even as stay-at-home restrictions ease.
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