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3 Earnings Reports to Watch Next Week

Vince Martin

Editor’s note: InvestorPlace’s Earnings Reports to Watch is updated weekly. Please check back next week for our latest earnings picks.

The earnings calendar shifts to retail next week at a very interesting time. With trade tensions rising, earnings reports in the sector need to be watched closely.

Industry leader Walmart (NYSE:WMT) reported this week, posting strong results in its fiscal first quarter. But in the wake of potential 25% tariffs on Chinese goods, the retail giant announced it would raise prices. That commentary appears to have dampened a rally in WMT stock, which gained just 1.4% despite handily beating earnings estimates.

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The response to Walmart earnings sets up several interesting earnings reports last week as other retail leaders disclose their own fiscal Q1 numbers. Given a strong economy and high consumer confidence, more earnings beats seem likely. But with the trade war an obvious near-term concern, it may be that next week, too, it’s forward-looking commentary, rather than backward-looking numbers, that capture investor attention.

And given the companies reporting next week, that could drive trading as earnings season winds down. Key auto parts retailers Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP) and AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) will try and reverse recent declines while facing significant potential tariff exposure. Walmart’s key brick-and-mortar retailer may detail its own challenges and its plan to respond. The two housing leaders report. And the off-price channel sees a pair of key earnings reports.

Next week would have been big for the retail sector regardless. With recent developments, it might be huge for the entire market.

Home Depot (HD)

home depot stock HD stock

Source: Shutterstock

Earnings Report Date: Tuesday, May 21, before market open

There might not be a better stock than Home Depot (NYSE:HD) to give a read on the current market. Home Depot’s exposure to housing has been a drag on the stock of late: HD stock actually has been flat since the beginning of last year. Even with housing stocks recovering nicely this year, HD has weakened in recent weeks. Earnings from Home Depot should give a read on how the market is performing … and also reflect consumer sentiment in the key repair and remodel category.

Home Depot also has direct exposure to the new tariffs and indirect exposure to the potential economic harm they could cause. And so the commentary from Home Depot management and the reaction in HD stock on Tuesday both should be watched closely. Do Home Depot executives believe the economy is strong enough to withstand more tariffs? And will investors believe them?

Home Depot also has the nagging problem of a potential revival at competitor Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW). Lowe’s reports on Wednesday morning, adding another data point regarding strength in the sector … and another potential mover for HD stock.

TJX Companies (TJX)

tjx stock

Source: Mike Mozart via Flickr

Earnings Report Date: Tuesday, May 21, before market open

Off-price retailers, including industry leader TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX), have largely escaped the worries about competition from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and other retailers. TJX stock took a hit in the Q4 market selloff, but recently challenged 2018 highs before pulling back of late.

Here, too, tariffs likely will be a key part of the post-earnings discussion. Like Home Depot, TJX sees a rival report next week: Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) is scheduled to release Q1 earnings after the close on Thursday.

These two earnings reports likely won’t have the same potentially market-moving impact as those from Home Depot and Lowe’s. But for a sector whose valuations have returned to the past level, and which remains surprisingly immune to e-commerce, the key will be stability. TJX needs to show that growth is continuing … and that its moat remains intact. With so many uncertainties already in this market, investors don’t want to deal with anymore.

Target (TGT)

Target stock tgt stock

Source: Mike Mozart via Flickr (Modified)

Earnings Report Date: Wednesday, May 22, before market open

Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) heads into its Q1 earnings report in need of good news. The rollout of one-day shipping from Amazon in late April sent TGT shares tumbling, and they haven’t recovered yet. Tariff concerns likely are weighing on TGT stock as well, given the company doesn’t have quite the same scale as WMT and that Target already is spending heavily on its omnichannel initiatives.

That spend is a key reason why I’ve remained skeptical toward TGT stock … and it leaves the company with little room for error on Wednesday morning. If Walmart, which is relentless in its focus, is raising prices, Target may have to do the same.

But those higher prices may push consumers away, hitting the traffic growth the company needs to leverage its rising operating expenses. It makes Target somewhat of a microcosm for the fears about tariff impacts more generally. And it makes the reaction to Target earnings a potential sign of what might be to come for U.S. stocks.

As of this writing, Vince Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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