Stocks moved further into record territory last week, as both the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) gained roughly 1%. The increase left the S&P higher by 23% so far in 2019, while the more narrowly-focused Dow is up 19%.
Third-quarter earnings season continues in the week ahead, with dozens of companies set to post operating results over the next few days. Below, we'll take a look at the metrics that could send shares of NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) moving in response to those reports.
NVIDIA's growth forecast
Investors are optimistic heading into NVIDIA's earnings report on Thursday. The chip giant had plenty of encouraging news to share in its prior filing in August, after all. Second-quarter sales beat expectations, thanks to continued stabilization in its core gaming business, management relayed. Growth in emerging niches, like autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, also helped deliver improving results.
The tech company issued light guidance for the current quarter that called for revenue to land at roughly $2.9 billion, compared to $3.2 billion a year ago. That gap highlights the work that NVIDIA has in front of it as it seeks to return to sales growth.
Still, the comparisons will get much easier beginning with NVIDIA's fiscal fourth-quarter outlook this week. In last year's comparable Q4 period, sales cratered by 24%, so Thursday's forecast has a low bar to meet in order to show the year-over-year sales trend improvements that investors have been waiting for.
Walmart's capital spending
The world's biggest retailer announces its results on Thursday morning in a report that's likely to set the tone for many consumer stocks heading into the key holiday shopping season. Three months ago, Walmart revealed sluggish growth in some important international markets that were more than offset by booming gains in the U.S. In fact, the chain's two-year growth rate at home is over 7%, marking its fastest expansion rate in over a decade.
This week, investors will be looking for more indications that Walmart is gaining market share in the U.S. and seeing at least stable results in places like the U.K and Canada. Another big question this week will center on spending, which is likely to keep rising as the retailer rolls out faster home-delivery options.
These initiatives have helped support growth in recent quarters, but investors will want to see that they aren't threatening profitability as the retailer moves into the seasonally critical fourth quarter.
Pot stocks have had a rough few months, and shareholders of Tilray have been hit especially hard as shares have dropped 55% since early August. Much of that decline can be traced to disappointing earnings results from the Canadian cannabis producer.
In mid-August, Tilray showed robust sales growth in Q2, as revenue jumped nearly 400%. However, management's aggressive spending produced net losses, and investors responded to the news by shedding shares.
Tuesday's earnings report will likely contain these same themes of high sales growth paired with soaring expenses. That means there's little reason to expect a dramatic shift in Tilray's stock-price trend -- at least until investors get more concrete signs that point to the likelihood of sustainable earnings generation in this unproven industry.
The good news is that with shares battered so far in 2019, even a modest step toward profitability could spark a rally in the stock as early as this week.