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3 Things to Watch in the Stock Market This Week

Stocks were split last week, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) lost 0.8% and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) gained less than 0.5%. Both indexes are near all-time highs as we approach the second half of 2021.

Earnings season has several widely owned stocks reporting their results over the next few trading days. That list includes Kroger (NYSE: KR), Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), and Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE), whose announcements we'll preview.

Image source: Getty Images.

Kroger's market share

The big question heading into Kroger's Thursday release is whether the supermarket chain can protect its recent growth momentum against rivals such as Walmart. The retailer enjoyed a sharp sales lift during the pandemic. Revenue was up 11% in the fourth quarter, compared with less than 2% growth in 2019.

Kroger said in early March that its latest results translate into likely persistent market share gains. Its omnichannel selling approach is lifting shopper loyalty, CEO Rodney McMullen told investors. Yet Walmart, its biggest competitor, has been claiming market share wins in the grocery niche, too. We'll find out on Thursday whether those gains came at Kroger's expense.

Meanwhile, look for Kroger to update its full-year outlook that currently envisions a slight sales pullback compared with last year's 14% spike. Management might also comment on what it plans to do with its growing cash pile, with major options including dividends, stock buybacks, and new acquisitions.

Oracle's outlook

Software giant Oracle reports its latest results on Tuesday afternoon, and investors are feeling bullish heading into that announcement.

Sure, sales rose by just 3% in its last outing. But Oracle is growing in some attractive industry niches, including cloud enterprise services. Wins with products like its Fusion and NetSuite platforms are doing wonders for its finances, for example by lifting profits and cash flow while creating a more stable, predictable revenue base. Oracle believes it is winning market share in those highly competitive arenas, too, which management detailed in its last earnings call with Wall Street analysts.

That success has investors expecting faster sales and profit growth in fiscal Q4, which CEO Safra Catz and her team will detail on Tuesday. All eyes will be on the fiscal 2022 outlook, though, which hinges on the latest global demand trends for subscription software services.

Adobe's cash flow

Investors have some big questions heading into Adobe's Thursday announcement. The digital media development giant gave Wall Street plenty to celebrate in its last announcement. Growth beat expectations in early 2021, executives said, thanks to booming demand for Adobe's cloud services. Sales rose 26% in Q1 and earnings expanded by 33%. "We are raising our annual targets," CEO Shantanu Narayen said at the time, "based on the tremendous opportunity across our business and our continued confidence in our global execution."

Investors will want to see evidence of that execution success on Thursday, with strength in metrics like subscription growth, operating income, and cash flow. The big question is whether Adobe can maintain its 20%-plus sales pace as it starts to lap some of the strongest quarters of 2020. If it can, then the stock might be an attractive bet for investors seeking exposure to the lucrative cloud services niche.

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Demitri Kalogeropoulos has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Adobe Systems. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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