Investing

Earnings Previews: Amazon, First Solar, Nio, Twitter

Continuing our looks at some of the more than 900 publicly traded companies scheduled to report March quarter earnings this week, this installment includes previews of a China-based automaker and three U.S. firms at or near the top of investors’ minds.

Looking ahead to companies reporting earnings after Wednesday’s closing bell, we have previewed Apple, Facebook, Qualcomm and Ford. Four more stocks reporting results before markets open Thursday, Caterpillar, McDonald’s, Merck and Altria, were previewed in a second story also posted Tuesday.


The four companies previewed in this story are scheduled to report earnings after markets close on Thursday.

Amazon

Shares of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) surged higher last summer, peaking at a 52-week high on September 2. Since then, the shares have fallen by as much as 16% and traded about 3.5% below that peak Wednesday morning. In each of the past three quarters, Amazon has absolutely stomped all over earnings forecasts, beating the consensus estimates by 600% in last year’s June quarter, 67% in the September quarter and 95% in the December quarter. The lack of a consistently positive effect on the share price is something of a poser.

Of 47 broker ratings on the stock, 43 are Buy or Strong Buy. The consensus price target on the stock is $3,993.18, implying upside potential of almost 14% to a recent price of $3.474.85. At the high target of $5,200, the upside potential is nearly 50%.

For the first fiscal quarter, Amazon is expected to post earnings per share of $9.54 on revenue of $104.46 billion, representing a boost in EPS of 90% year over year and a sales increase of 38.5%. Growth is expected to taper off (a bit) in the second half of the year, but full-year EPS is currently forecast at $47.61, up nearly 14% year over year, on revenue of $474.69 billion, up 23%.

At the current trading price, Amazon trades at 73.0 times expected 2021 EPS, 52.0 times estimated 2022 earnings and 38.4 times estimated 2023 earnings. The stock’s 52-week range is $2,256.38 to $3,552.25. Amazon does not pay a dividend.

First Solar

Solar panel maker First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) saw a share price boost of about 77% in 2020, and the story continued well into January, when shares had jumped by nearly 150% in just the first three weeks of the new year. The share price suffered from the general downturn in the tech sector but the share price gain for the year to date is still slightly better than double. Investors and analysts will be listening for clues about how a federal infrastructure plan could affect the company’s business going forward.

Just over half (nine of 17) analysts give the stock a Buy or Strong Buy rating. Shares currently trade at around $89, more than $3 above the consensus price target of $85.75. At the high target of $141, upside potential on the stock is 58%.

For the March quarter, analysts expect EPS of $0.98, up 16.5% year over year, on sales of $772.88 million, up more than 45%. Analysts forecast 2021 EPS at $4.37, up 17.4% year over year, on sales of $2.94 billion, up 8.4%.