First-quarter earnings season is winding down, but investors can still expect volatility around a few individual stocks that are announcing quarterly numbers in the days ahead. A few of the most anticipated reports set to be released will be coming from Vail (NYSE:MTN), Smucker (NYSE:SJM), and Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA).
Vail Resorts' season pass sales
Vail shares are trouncing the market so far this year -- up 33% compared to an 8% increase for the S&P 500 -- as investors applaud the resort owner's improving operating results. With a big assist from its recently acquired Whistler Blackcomb properties, Vail overcame weak weather conditions last quarter to post a 25% jump in lift revenue along with higher ski school sales and a healthy uptick in the dining segment. Net income benefited from increased ski lift prices to jump nearly 30%, to $149 million.
CEO Rob Katz and his executive team in late April issued preliminary ski season results that showed growth across its key resort categories despite a 3% weather-driven decline in skier visits. Management credited the company's diverse geographic footprint and its season pass offerings for keeping growth on track. Look for Katz to provide the latest spring season pass figures on Thursday as the company likely hits the high end of its guidance, which called for adjusted earnings of between $577 million and $597 million.
Ambarella's market share
Ambarella posts its earnings numbers on Tuesday afternoon. The company, which designs image processing chips for cameras used in the drone, sports, and wearable tech industries, has enjoyed strong growth lately. Sales spiked 29% last quarter as profit margin leaped to 67% of sales from 64%. Ambarella is benefiting from a more diverse client base that doesn't rely so heavily on GoPro sports cameras, and its latest system-on-a-chip products have met solid demand in the automotive industry.
Executives in February predicted revenue of between $62.5 million and $64.5 million this quarter (for 11% growth) as gross margin weighs in at between 63% of sales and 64.5% of sales. Numbers that meet or exceed those targets will suggest that Ambarella's chip solutions remain ahead of the competition and thus can command premium prices. On the other hand, weakness on either metric might suggest deep-pocketed rivals like Qualcomm are finding success at eating into its market share.
J.M Smucker's forecast
Packaged foods specialist J.M. Smucker will announce its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings results on Friday. The stock hasn't participated in the market's rally so far this year -- and for good reason. Smucker's sales are down 7% through the past nine months as its core Folgers coffee brand struggles with slipping volumes. Profitability in that segment is down, too, due to declining prices.
At its last quarterly check-in, the company lowered its full-year outlook to a 3% organic sales drop from its prior guidance that forecast flat revenue. The good news is cost cuts should still allow Smucker to post profits of as much as $7.75 per share for the year as free cash flow weighs in at a healthy $1 billion.
Assuming those figures roughly meet management's guidance, investors will likely focus on the company's forecast for the new fiscal year. Smucker aims to outgrow a sluggish industry through innovations like its new line of "uncrustables" frozen sandwiches. Yet if CEO Mark Smucker and his team predict another year of falling organic sales on Friday, the stock might continue its 2017 slump.