Stocks were roughly flat last week as investors processed news about COVID-19 outbreaks along with a flood of generally strong second-quarter earnings reports. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.71%) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC -1.51%) fell by less than 0.75% to remain in modestly negative territory for the year.
Hundreds of stocks will announce earnings results over the next few trading days, including Facebook (META -0.54%), Boyd Gaming (BYD -0.69%), and Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD -0.62%). Below we'll take a look at the key trends that might send these investments moving this week.
Facebook will announce its second-quarter results on Wednesday afternoon, and investors are expecting good news from the social media titan. User metrics were strong at its last outing, with an 11% increase in daily scrollers helping push revenue up 18%. Net income more than doubled to a head-turning $4.9 billion.
The second quarter started on April 1, which means it captures the most dramatic impact to date from the coronavirus pandemic. The global health scare initially pushed advertising revenue down, management said in late April, but investors are expecting to see evidence of a quick rebound this week.
In the meantime, look for Facebook to reveal increasing engagement levels as more people turned to their smartphones for entertainment, connection, and news during shelter-in-place efforts. Given Facebook's growing influence in these areas, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will likely comment on his efforts to make the company a more trusted information source at a controversial time for news aggregators.
Boyd Gaming's debt
Investors are bracing for some brutal financial metrics when Boyd Gaming announces its results after the market closes on Tuesday. After all, the casino operator's properties were closed for much of the quarter due to COVID-19 social distancing efforts. These moves impacted only two weeks of the prior quarter, which showed an 18% revenue slump and a $138 million operating loss. Boyd had no source of income for nearly eight full weeks in Q2, and so these top and bottom-line results will be significantly worse this week.
Investors might look past the unusually weak second quarter if Boyd Gaming can show a steady demand uptick as it reopened casinos in Las Vegas and across its properties in the Midwest and southern United States. Further COVID-19 outbreaks could complicate those efforts, though, and require the business to continue taking on more debt as an insurance policy against historically rough selling conditions.
Anheuser-Busch's sales volume
Anheuser-Busch on Thursday morning will likely report surging demand in its retailing business as consumers stocked up on alcoholic beverages for home consumption in March, April, and May. But that increase won't be enough to offset the loss of sales at bars and restaurants, plus the forgone business at sporting events, concerts, theme parks, and countless other entertainment venues that closed in the early days of the pandemic.
The beer titan's last operating update suggested that sales volumes slumped by over 30% during the initial phase of lockdown measures, and that situation will likely dominate Thursday's report. Look for the consumer staple leader to stress improving results since those April lows, while updating investors on market share progress, including the launch of Bud Light Seltzer. InBev needs to establish itself in growing categories like hard seltzers -- which is helping Boston Beer boost sales by over 30% this year -- in order to return to sustainable global volume growth over time.