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Jam-packed week ahead with Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Dutch Shell and many more

Nearly 50% of US companies and 35% of European companies are in the coming week’s reporting diary

The coming week is jam-packed with company updates in what is the busiest part of results season in Europe and the US, while Rishi Sunak’s Budget, several central bank decisions and finishing with a G20 talks and the Cop26 climate summit.

Among the near-50% of US companies and 35% of European companies scheduled to report next week are HSBC, Lloyds, Natwest, GSK and Shell, plus Nasdaq titans Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook.

Financial markets have been very focused on a potential interest rate hike, but rather than monetary policy developments, many economists think fiscal changes are currently more important for the UK economy.

Indeed, with the government’s support has been the key tool to carry the economy through the pandemic, () said the likely steeper fiscal drag would results in a much more material impact.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak heads into the autumn Budget, he has a lot more fiscal wiggle room than previously expected, with fresh figures showing government borrowing is £44bn less than the £152bn predicted by the Office for Budget Responsibility in March.

However, Sunak’s agreed spending commitments on the NHS, schools and defence will absorb much of the wiggle room, meaning he may have to cut elsewhere in order to meet his objective of balancing the budget by the end of the parliament in three years.

Taxes are not something he is likely to cut, but Deutsche’s Sanjay Raja predicts the spending review and revised economic assumptions around pandemic scarring will result in a more rapid fall in borrowing, which “should also allow the Chancellor to meet his prospective fiscal rules by the end of parliament, opening the door to more spending ahead of the next general election”.

HSBC, Lloyds and NatWest in grip of rate hike fever

Alongside the Budget it is also a week full of UK bank updates.

Barclays set a high bar last week, but brokers seem confident its peers will at least maintain if not improve upon the bullish tone and bumper numbers from the blue-blood bank.

() kicks off proceedings on Monday and analysts at UBS expect the Asia-focused bank to announce a US$2.5bn share buy-back as part of a steady ramping up of shareholder distributions in coming years.

“We assume US$11bn in buybacks in 2021/2 and a 10% yield by 2025.”

Reassurance that it is insulated against any fall-out from the tottering Evergrande Asian property empire would also be welcome, the UBS analysts added.

() on Thursday seemingly has the most scope for disappointment, lacking the investment bank operation that powered Barclays and the US banks forward over the third quarter.

Worries over the impact of rising living costs and how that affects bad debts and the prospect of an interest rise have hurt the share price, but net income is tipped to be well up in these numbers helped by growth in mortgage and unsecured loans.

It is also new Lloyds chief executive Charlie Nunn’s first outing, so brokers expect a conservative view on dividends with the strategy going forward to be outlined with the full year results.

On Friday, it’s the turn of (), the most geared of the UK banks to higher interest rates.

Key within results will be assessing how those benefits are reinforced by a potentially larger rate hedge and offset by the significant decline in flow mortgage spreads, said UBS.

US earnings season: Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and more

The busiest week in the US earnings season is upon us, and things have been going well so far.

As JPMorgan has noted, while only 17% of companies in the US and 16% in Europe have reported, initial results point to better than expected earnings growth in both the US and Europe, with 86% of S&P 500 companies beating EPS estimates and 68% in Europe.

Facebook and Kimberly-Clark get us off to a start on Monday; with Tuesday’s names including Alphabet, (), Texas Instruments, UPS, (), Twitter, (), 3M and (); on Wednesday it’s Microsoft, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, AMD, Boeing, Ford, KLA Corp, Spotify, Kraft-Heinz and Xilinx; then Thursday sees Apple joined by Amazon, (), (, ), Starbuck’s, Caterpillar, Newmont Corp, Hershey and (); and the week finishes with (), ExxonMobil, Chevron and Colgate-Palmolive on Friday.

(), the US$2.5trn colossus, reports it’s fourth-quarter numbers after the closing bell on Thursday, following its best ever third-quarter as iPhone and services sales soared.

For the final quarter, analysts have forecast revenues of US$84.8bn and EPS of US$1.23.

“Despite the chip shortage noise, we believe Apple will deliver clear upside to Street numbers across the board as iPhone 13 demand was robust globally with China front and center,” said broker Wedbush.

“The elephant in the room for Apple (and every other tech and auto player) heading into the conference call remains the chip shortage crunch and what impact this global logistics Rubik’s Cube will have on iPhone builds and shipments for holiday season.”

Wedbush analysts reckon Apple will need to cut iPhone units by 5-10mln due to the chip shortage, meaning Wall Street is expecting December guidance to be “a bit mixed”.

Moving to the smaller (at just US$2.3trn) (), the software and hardware giant’s last financial update last month included an 11% hike for the September quarter’s dividend along with the launch of a US$60bn share buyback.

Wedbush is expecting “incremental strength again” as Microsoft’s Azure cloud hits its next gear of growth.

“We are seeing deal sizes continue to increase markedly as enterprise-wide digital transformation shifts are accelerating with CIOs all focused on readying their respective enterprises for a cloud driven architecture with MSFT poised to beat Azure whisper growth numbers of ~45% this quarter.”

Wall Street’s view that cloud growth will moderate as the home working cycle runs out, but Wedbush said Microsoft experiences in the field paint a different picture.

“We also believe the Office 365 price increase for 2022 was a smart strategic poker move that could be another $5bn+ incremental tailwind for Redmond in 2022, giving more confidence that numbers could continue to move higher.”

Things are a little hotter under the collar over at (), which reports on Monday amid accusations that it covered up research suggesting its products are bad for users’ mental health, while its WhatsApp arm was fined for incorrect use of customer data.

“All in all, a pretty horrible set of headlines,” said analyst Nicholas Hyett at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The question next week is whether the bad news has had much impact on users.

“The group’s no stranger to bad press, and that hasn’t stopped daily user’s rising 79% in just two years. Advertisers too seem to be willing to overlook bad press to access Facebook’s audience, with average revenue per user up 43.5% in just one year. Management will hope this latest round of negative headlines is no different.”

Read across to Reckitt

If results from Unilever are anything to go by, the trading update from sector peer (, ) on Tuesday could be a goodie.

Unilever reported sales growth above analysts’ forecasts for the third quarter but it also reported unprecedented cost inflation.

Reckitt’s 23 September trading update revealed trading since 27 July had been in line with expectations.

Shingles rebound for GSK?

The focus in Wednesday’s third-quarter results from () will be on Shingrix, the company’s vaccine to protect against shingles, according to UBS.

First-quarter sales of Shingrix were down 50% year-on-year and were flat in the second quarter.

Quarterly sales of £414mln are forecast for the drug, which represents a year-on-year recovery of 18%, UBS said.

Overall core earnings from GSK “will likely be muddied by contribution from ‘covid solutions’ (affecting both revenues and costs), which are excluded from FY21 guidance,” the Swiss bank added.

Analysts are expecting third-quarter revenue of £8,759bn, core earnings before interest and tax of £2,350bn and core earnings per share of 0.29p.

Shell is still an oil company – and profiting nicely

() shares are up about 80% in the year to date, and it is not down to the company’s ESG and ‘net zero’ strategy – it is because of soaring oil and gas prices.

It’s third-quarter results, among the many on Thursday, will no doubt be full of commentary and quotes about the energy transition, not least with the COP26 summit only around the corner.

Cashflow, profits and dividends will be the what the investors will be looking at – though a lot of those details were given in an unscheduled update earlier this month.

Trading results are expected to be better than in the second quarter, particularly for the integrated gas business.

Shell said it expects cash flow from operations to be “significantly impacted by large variation margin inflows on the back of the prevailing gas and electricity price environment” – which is a convoluted way to say that Shell is making a lot of money by selling its product at a higher price.

The sentiments were echoed by UBS: “Integrated Gas should benefit from better trading and optimisation earnings than 2Q (we see this as the absence of a negative rather than obvious upside benefit from the current LNG market given various production shortfalls).”

The Swiss bank’s analysts added: “Upstream earnings are held back by the impact of Hurricane Ida, especially on GoM production with the Mars complex shut in through Sept (production impact 90,000 boed and adjusted earnings hit by US$200-$300mln).”

Significant announcement expected in the week ahead:

Monday 25 October:

Trading update: HSBC Holdings PLC

Interims: ()

Finals: ()

AGMs: (), (), (), ()

Economic data: Chicago Fed National Activity Index (US)

Tuesday 26 October:

Trading updates: (, ), () PLC

Interims: e-Therapeutics PLC

Economic data: New home sales (US), Case-Shiller home prices (US), Consumer confidence (US)

Wednesday 27 October:

Trading updates: (), ()

Interims: ()

AGMs: Cap-xx, (), (, ), (), (), JPMorgan Global Growth & Income (LSE:JGGI), (), (), ()

Economic data: BRC shop price index (UK), Durable goods orders (US)

Thursday 28 October:

Trading updates: (), (), (), (), (), (), Mail.ru Group, PPHE Hotel Group Ltd, ()

Interims: (), (), () Private Equity

FTSE 100 ex-dividends to knock 0.987 points off the index: ()

AGMs/GMs: (), (), Highbridge Tactical Credit Fund PLC, (), (, , , ), ()

Economic data: Nationwide house prices (UK), ECB interest rate decision (EU), Initial jobless claims (US), GDP (US), PCE prices (US)

Friday 29 October:

Trading updates: (), ()

Finals: (), (, ), ()

AGMs: ADM Energy, ITM Power, Mattioli Woods, Maxcyte, OPG Power Systems, Sensyne Health

Economic data: lending figures (UK)

Read More: Jam-packed week ahead with Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Dutch Shell and many more

2021-10-22 09:57:00

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