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3 Things to Watch in the Stock Market This Week

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos – Sep 30, 2018 at 9:31AM

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Costco is one of several big-name stocks set to post earnings results over the next few trading days.

Stocks dipped slightly last week, with the S&P 500 (^GSPC 0.89%) shedding 0.6%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.76%) losing a bit more than 1%. The declines left both indexes near their all-time highs and in solidly positive territory in 2018 as investors look ahead to the fourth quarter.

^SPX Chart

^SPX data by YCharts.

Looking ahead, third-quarter earnings results are starting to come in from some of the market's biggest stocks. Below, we'll take a closer look at a few of the most anticipated reports set for the next few trading days, from PepsiCo (PEP 0.39%), Costco (COST 0.77%), and Constellation Brands (STZ 0.03%).

Pepsi's organic growth

Like its main beverage rival, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo's shares have underperformed the market this year. Recent results have been underwhelming, after all. The drink and snack foods titan met management's modest sales targets last quarter, with revenue organically rising 2.5% so far in 2018 while earnings ticked up by 4%. 

Most of those gains are coming from the snacking division, though, as Pepsi continues to struggle with declining demand for sugary carbonated beverages. Its marketing and product launches haven't held up well against Coca-Cola, either, which is celebrating a strong start to its Coke Zero franchise.

A glass of soda.

Image source: Getty Images.

Pepsi's earnings call on Tuesday will be the final one for outgoing CEO Indra Nooyi, who has led the company since late 2006. Ramon Laguarta will officially step into that role later in the week, but he will likely have some comments for investors about his vision for the company going forward. Laguarta was involved in the company's recent acquisition of at-home beverage machine maker SodaStream, for example, which executives hope will give Pepsi prime positioning in the growing market for sparkling water.

Costco's membership metrics

Investors are looking forward to Costco's earnings report on Thursday. That's because the selling environment appears healthy after industry peers like Walmart and Target announced some of their best growth numbers in years.

Costco typically outpaces these rivals, and thanks to its monthly sales reports, investors already know that this trend held up in the most recent quarter. Revenue rose 8% in the warehouse giant's U.S. segment, compared to around 5% for Walmart and 7% for Target. 

Shareholders will get a few important growth metric updates this week, including on Costco's membership gains, renewal rates, and gross profit margin. Overall earnings growth, meanwhile, is expected to be robust thanks to benefits from its recent price hike on annual membership fees.

Constellation Brands' updated outlook

Alcoholic beverage giant Constellation Brands is going through a transition right now. After boosting earnings by 20% or better in each of the last five fiscal years, the company is predicting just 10% growth in fiscal 2019 as it prioritizes investing in the business.

Two friends celebrating while drinking bottled beer.

Image source: Getty Images.

On Thursday investors will receive updates on how well those growth initiatives are going. Constellation's biggest project is the national rollout of its Corona Premier brand, the first major addition to that franchise in over two decades. A solid launch is expected to keep broader beer sales rising by about 9% this year, while average prices continue trending higher. Marketing expenses, on the other hand, might reduce profitability for the beer portfolio as the company works to strengthen its premium image.

CEO Rob Sands and his team believe that investment will pay big dividends in the years to come, and so will the over $1 billion they plan to spend on upgrading their Mexican brewery network this year. Looking further out, shareholders can expect major acquisitions -- like the recent entry into the cannabis-infused beverage industry -- to be a key growth avenue in the years to come.

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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