Stocks edged lower last week to leave both the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) near record territory and up sharply this year with just a few weeks left in 2019.
Third-quarter earnings season will continue to grab headlines in the week ahead, and below we'll look at the metrics that could send shares of Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK) moving over the next few trading days.
Ambarella's computer vision update
The bar has been set high for Ambarella's earnings report on Monday. It could be the first time in over a year that the video tech specialist posts rising sales, year over year. The company is pivoting away from its prior focus on the consumer technology that went into sports cameras and drones and toward what management sees as more sustainable bets in emerging areas like artificial intelligence
Ambarella in the second quarter began mass production of its latest generation of computer-vision chips, and investors will be keen to learn how well that product is being received by manufacturers in niches like self-driving cars. The company will also provide some important details on the profitability of these sales, although expectations are modest given the small footprint right now.
Finally, look for the stock this week to react to the outlook that CEO Fermi Wang and his team issue for the full year. A positive third quarter might just be enough for management to project a return to annual sales growth in 2019 for the first time in three years.
Best Buy's holiday outlook
The holiday shopping season starts earlier in the calendar this year, which means investors should get some major hints about Best Buy's market share opportunities when the retailer announces its third-quarter results on Tuesday.
Three months ago, the company posted mostly encouraging results, with sales gains speeding up but remaining at the low end of management's targets. Tuesday's report will show whether that sluggishness continued into the summer months, and the best clue to that trend will be how management updates its fiscal 2020 outlook. As it stands, it sees comparable-store sales rising by about 1% while profitability improves thanks to a tilt toward appliances and services sales. Each of those targets could shift slightly, depending on management's reading of the competitive environment just days before the official start of the peak holiday shopping season.
Autodesk's billings growth
Autodesk announces its latest results after the market closes on Tuesday, and investors are banking on seeing mostly good news. The software specialist's last report was a blockbuster, with sales, earnings, and free cash flow all landing ahead of management's targets. Sales rose 31% to cross $3 billion in Q2 as the business continued to benefit from a shift toward cloud-based subscription revenue.
CEO Andrew Anagnost said back in August that sales would likely land between $820 million and $830 million for the current quarter, and the company's predictable revenue stream means the actual results likely won't stray far from that goal. That said, Autodesk will reveal some metrics that will show whether its growth rate is holding strong as it closes out fiscal 2020. These include software billings, which are projected to rise by about 50% this year, and non-GAAP expenses, which are on pace to rise just 9%. If the tech stock affirms or surpasses these ambitious targets, then investors are likely to keep rewarding it for showing robust sales and profitability growth.