Stocks posted modest gains last week as major parts of the U.S. economy reopened following COVID-19 shutdowns. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.54%) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC -2.11%) gained roughly 2%, and the indexes are down only modestly so far in 2020.
Investors will be closely watching how the pandemic progresses for signs about the length and severity of the recession it caused. In the meantime, some big-name stocks will report earnings results over the next few days. Below, we'll look at the metrics that might send shares of Nike (NKE -3.41%), McCormick (MKC -2.04%), and Winnebago (WGO -4.13%) moving in the week ahead.
Winnebago's cash position
Investors have pushed Winnebago shares dramatically higher since mid-March, and that rally sets some high expectations for its Wednesday results report.
Early on, the recreational vehicle specialist was seen as a major casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic slump that hit the U.S. Winnebago shut down its entire production line in March, and management noted an abrupt demand slump across its dealership network.
CEO Michael Happe and his team sounded optimistic about the rebound potential for the RV industry in late March, even if the next few quarters might look unusually weak. But we'll find out on Wednesday just how bad the company's cash crunch got in March and April.
Key metrics for the future, meanwhile, include Winnebago's inventory and backlog levels as the company looks to shift back into offense mode and target pent-up demand for outdoor entertainment coming out of the COVID-19 crisis.
Nike's inventory level
Nike's last earnings report ran through the end of February, which means its announcement on Thursday covers the most intense impact from COVID-19 in markets outside of China. Investors are bracing for some bad news this week, with sales likely down a brutal 26% to $7.5 billion.
It will be interesting to compare the apparel and footwear giant's results in context with lululemon athletica's. The yoga apparel specialist said in early June that sales dropped 17% and profitability slumped in the period. But the company noted strong demand in its e-commerce channels. It also avoided the type of inventory writedowns that have reduced earnings for many of its peers.
We'll learn on Thursday whether Nike saw a similarly modest impact from seasonal inventory charges. The chain is likely to lean heavily on its digital business as a core growth avenue coming out of the store shutdowns, too.
McCormick's sales volume
McCormick posts its results on Thursday morning, and there is a wide range of results investors might see from the spice and flavorings giant. It last reported a modest sales decline of just 1%, which wasn't far from the 2% uptick shareholders had noted through most of the past year. Yet McCormick noted in its first-quarter conference call that volatility struck its business beginning in late March, with sales up as much as 90% in some categories thanks to consumer stock-up behavior.
Thursday's report will show just how well the consumer staples company was able to satisfy that demand while shifting its resources away from the slumping restaurant sector. Investors will be most interested in management's updated comments about the growth picture, though, as consumers still appear set to spend more time than usual around the home at least through late 2020.