Stocks fell sharply last week before rebounding on Friday to end with just modest losses overall. Both the S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.60%) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.17%) had fallen by over 3% but landed at declines of less than 1%.
Earnings results promise to send a few individual stocks moving over the upcoming trading days. Below, we'll take a look at the metrics that could affect shares of Levi Strauss (LEVI 0.78%), Delta Air Lines (DAL 1.20%) and Fastenal (FAST -0.23%) in the week ahead.
Levi Strauss' U.S. growth
The apparel specialist will post its results after the closing bell on Tuesday when investors are hoping to hear about improvements to the company's growth outlook. Back in July, shareholders were disappointed to see evidence of sluggish growth in the key U.S. market. Executives said several negative trends, including retailer closures and weaker customer traffic at malls, combined to pressure sales as revenue rose by 9%.
On the bright side, Levi Strauss enjoyed robust growth in international markets in Europe and Asia. The company also reduced its reliance on price cuts, which helped offset most of the gross margin decline caused by currency exchange moves.
CEO Chip Bergh and his team cautioned investors to expect slower growth in Levi's third and fourth quarters this year, in part because of the timing of Black Friday, which will fall just outside of fiscal 2019. The recent IPO still expects revenue growth in the mid-single digits, though, and that forecast could change on Tuesday to reflect the latest demand trends.
Delta stock has barely kept pace with the market so far in 2019, but that stable trend could change following its third-quarter earnings report on Thursday. The company has had plenty of good news for shareholders lately, with earnings guidance increasing in each of the last two quarters. Delta's most recent report in July contained evidence of robust demand and solid cost control, and those two trends combined to send earnings higher by 32% to blow past analysts' expectations.
Wall Street is looking for another quarter of margin expansion and growth in Delta's core expansion metric, revenue per available seat mile. Most investors who follow the stock are expecting sales to rise 6% as earnings improve to $2.27 per share from $1.80 per share a year ago.
Meanwhile, look for CEO Ed Bastian to discuss Delta's prospects for fiscal 2020. This outlook will rely on efficient growth in the airline's domestic and international routes, including through the new Boston hub that management hopes will boost its market share in key European destinations.
Fastenal's pricing trends
Investors will get a fresh view of the industrial and construction industries when Fastenal reports its third-quarter results on Friday. Its July announcement contained a few warning signs for the business, such as slowing growth and increasing costs. Executives noted that they'd witnessed weaker industry expansion in the second quarter relative to the first quarter, and this week we'll find out if that deceleration continued into the second half of the year.
Also, keep an eye on profit margin. Fastenal revealed last quarter that it had struggled to pass along price increases related to higher tariffs on Chinese imports. Management said it was taking steps to fix that issue, and success on this score would show up in rebounding gross profitability and perhaps slightly faster sales growth in the Friday report.