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Alphabet Inc. Earnings: Mark Your Calendar

By Daniel Sparks – Oct 10, 2016 at 6:40AM

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Here's why growth should decelerate in Q3.

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If you follow tech giant Alphabet (GOOG -2.83%) (GOOGL -2.83%) closely, you may want to mark your calendar. Formerly Google, the search giant's parent company reports third-quarter results on Thursday, Oct. 27. With shares rising about 12% in the past month and trading around a new all-time high set during the quarter, investors will likely be watching the company's earnings release closely to see if Alphabet can live up to high expectations.

Ahead of Alphabet's third-quarter earnings release, here's an early look at what to expect.

Expectations for revenue and EPS

Ahead of Alphabet's earnings release, analysts have a consensus estimate for revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share of $22.1 billion and $8.63, respectively. This compares to revenue and non-GAAP EPS of $18.7 billion and $7.35 in the year-ago quarter and $21.5 billion and $8.42 in Q2.

These expectations seem fair and somewhat conservative, given that in Q2 Alphabet's revenue and EPS actually increased at slightly higher rates than the year-over-year growth these estimates imply.


Q2 YOY Growth

Q3 YOY Growth Implied by Consensus Analyst Estimate







YOY = year over year.

Analyst expectations for slower year-over-year growth in Q3 versus Q2 are likely a reflection of commentary from Alphabet management. The company's most recent earnings call discussed the more difficult year-over-year comparisons Alphabet is about to face.

Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat noted in the second-quarter earnings call that the company's revenue growth rates recently benefited from a change to mobile ad formats made in the third quarter of 2015. The third quarter of 2016, therefore, will be the first quarter with a year-ago comparison including this benefit.

"I'll let you do your own forecasting. But when comparing growth rates, we're obviously at a higher revenue base versus last year," Porat stated, seeming to suggest analysts shouldn't expect recent year-over-year growth rates to persist.

Further supporting expectations for 18% year-over-year revenue growth in Q3, Alphabet's constant currency year-over-year revenue growth in the last quarter before the company began benefiting from its ad format change for mobile was 18%. So, analysts seem to be essentially betting the inclusion of mobile ad format benefits in the year-ago quarter will bring year-over-year growth back to where it was before the company started benefiting from this tailwind.

"Other bets"

Another interesting area to watch will be Google's "other bets" segment. While its $185 million in revenue in the company's most recent quarter, which management said was primarily driven by Nest, Fiber, and Verily, pales in comparison to Alphabet's total second-quarter revenue of $21.5 billion, the segment is growing rapidly. In Q2, the segment's revenue, specifically, was up 150% from the year-ago quarter. Can this small segment keep growing this fast in Q3?

But what will likely be more interesting about the "other bets" segment than how fast it is growing is whether the company is improving the segment's losses. Its operating loss was $859 million in Q2 -- worse than its $660 million loss in the second quarter of 2015.

Investors will be able to find a copy of Alphabet's earnings release on the company's investor relations website after market close on Oct. 27. A live conference call, which will be available on the same page, will discuss third-quarter results at 1:30 p.m. PT.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel Sparks has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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