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Earnings: 3 Hot Stocks to Watch This Week

By Daniel Sparks – Jul 28, 2020 at 7:16AM

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These three stocks have crushed the market this year. Can they continue to impress?

Earnings season is under way -- and investors are watching closely. For the most part, watchers have the same question for every company reporting earnings: How are lockdowns and social restrictions due to COVID-19 impacting business?

This week is particularly important, as it includes some tech stocks that have been high flyers recently: Facebook (META 2.47%), Apple (AMZN 1.99%), and (AMZN 1.99%). Can they live up to the market's expectations? Ahead of their earnings reports this week, here's a look at each company.

A chart showing stocks trading higher.

Image source: Getty Images.

Facebook: How hard was the social network's ad business hit?

Social network Facebook is scheduled to report its second-quarter results after market close on Thursday, July 30. The company was previously scheduled to report results for the period on Wednesday, but the report was rescheduled "due to a scheduling conflict."

Even though shares of Facebook have risen 14% this year and crushed the market, analysts expect a rough second quarter from the company. On average, analysts are modeling for revenue to rise just 3% year over year to $17.4 billion. This compares to 18% revenue growth in Q1. 

While management didn't provide guidance for its second quarter, Facebook CFO David Wehner said in the company's first-quarter earnings call that second-quarter revenue at the time of the update was trending flat year over year.

"The April trends reflect weakness across all of our user geographies, as most of our major countries have had some sort of shelter-in-place guidelines in effect," said Wehner.

Apple: Can services keep up its momentum?

Tech giant Apple has similarly seen its stock soar even though analysts have a gloomy outlook for the company in the near term. On average, analysts expect Apple's fiscal third-quarter revenue to decline 3.6% year over year to $51.2 billion. Yet shares of Apple are up 29% year to date.

But there's one area of Apple's business investors expect strong growth during the period: services. As the company's second-largest segment by revenue and its most lucrative segment in terms of its gross profit margin, investors are hoping lockdowns and social restrictions fueled rapid growth in the segment, which includes revenue from the App Store, Apple Pay, and other services.

Services revenue increased 17% year over year in fiscal Q2 to $13.3 billion. Further, the segment boasted a gross margin of 65.4% year over year. This trounced the company's consolidated gross margin of 38.4%.

Look for more strong momentum in services in fiscal Q3.

Apple also reports its quarterly results after market close on July 30.

Amazon: Big expectations for e-commerce

Amazon's stock has soared this year, rising more than 65% year to date. Analysts aren't modeling for the same slowdown in top-line growth they expect from Facebook and Amazon. On the contrary, they expect year-over-year revenue growth to accelerate to a rate of 28% -- up from 26% growthin the first quarter of 2020 and 21% growth in the fourth quarter of 2019. 

E-commerce, of course, is anticipated to be a driver for the quarter. It stands to reason that e-commerce has fared well with more consumers sheltering at home and many retailers closed for at least part of the quarter.

Like Facebook and Apple, Amazon reports its second-quarter results after the market closes on July 30.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Apple, and Facebook and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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