Earnings Previews: Accenture, Adobe, Darden Restaurants

Here is a preview of three companies set to report results late on Thursday or early Friday.


Management and technology consulting giant Accenture PLC (NYSE: ACN) has suffered a share price decline of nearly 22% over the past 12 months. From a peak in late December of last year, the stock has shed more than 41%. The Dublin, Ireland-based company reports quarterly results first thing Friday morning.

Accenture’s problem is that companies worried about inflation and a looming recession are spending less on technology upgrades and services. That will not be the case forever, though, and the company’s compound annual growth rate of around 8% over the past decade is likely to return.

Of 24 brokerages covering the stock, 15 have a Buy or Strong Buy rating and eight more rate the shares at Hold. At a recent trading price of about $295.35 a share, the upside potential based on a median price target of $310.00 is 5%. At the high target of $360.00, the potential upside is about 8.3%.

Analysts are expecting fiscal first-quarter revenue of $15.59 billion, which would be up 1.1% sequentially and by 6.5% year over year. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter are forecast at $2.93, up 12.5% sequentially and 5.4% higher year over year. For the full 2023 fiscal year ending in August, analysts currently estimate EPS of $11.36, up 5%, on revenue of $64.18 billion, up 4.2%.

Accenture shares trade at 26.0 times expected 2023 EPS, 23.6 times estimated 2024 earnings of $12.54 and 21.4 times estimated 2025 earnings of $13.79 per share. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $242.95 to $417.37. The company pays an annual dividend of $4.45 (yield of 1.55%). Total shareholder return for the past 12 months was negative 20.7%.


Software maker Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) reports quarterly earnings after markets close on Thursday. The company’s 52-week high was posted exactly a year ago, and the 52-week low was recorded in late September. Since that low point, the shares have added about 23.4%.

Last week, Adobe confirmed a report that it is opening its Adobe Stock service to images generated using artificial intelligence programs. And on December 1, the company celebrated its 40th anniversary by submitting the source code for an early version of its PostScript language (the predecessor to PDF) to the Computer History Museum.

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