Earnings season is on a full-throttle with the market movers starting to disclose results. Initially, let’s discuss the developments between July 2019 and December 2019. For the said purpose, we refer to the NAB Quarterly Business Surveys for the two quarters.
September quarter 2019
In Q3 2019, the overall survey results indicated an ongoing weakness in the business sector. Business conditions depicted an improvement, but conditions were tracked below average with stress on retail and wholesale industries.
Business confidence dipped sharply during the Q3, reaching below-average levels. In Q3, the capacity utilisation and employment intentions improved, expected capital expenditure over the next 12-month declined.
Price pressure was weak as retail prices were rising at low rates while labour and other input costs were tracking at a slightly higher rate. Firms reckoned difficulties in finding suitable labour despite an uptick in the unemployment rate in 2019, suggesting that wage growth would be modest.
December quarter 2019
Economists at NAB noted that the deteriorating business conditions might have bottomed as the business conditions improved sequentially, but remain below the recent peaks, suggesting a slowness in the business sector.
It was noted that despite business condition bottoming, the firms are sceptical for a material improvement in the near term. The survey continued its indication that costs are growing at a higher rate with mute pressure in end-prices.
Overall growth in retail prices was soft, but it has recovered in the last two quarters. It was mentioned that weak inflation had been driven by slow wage growth, and with robust employment demand, there could be some improvement.
Firms continued to face difficulties in finding suitable labour, but it remains well below the levels recorded in the build-up to GFC, and it coincided with significantly robust wage growth.
Earnings Season – when reality knocks expectations
In January, the downgrade cycle was started with Mosaic Brands Limited (ASX:MOZ), reflecting weakness as a result of bushfire. Later, the industrials duo CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) and Downer EDI Limited (ASX:DOW) followed with their respective downgrades.
During the month, the coronavirus fears started to grapple expectations and markets took a toll. As a result, the education, travel, leisure and entertainment stocks took a beating, but spillover impacts were seen in commodity heavyweights too.
SeaLink Travel Group Limited (ASX:SLK) has tanked 18 per cent since the start of the year, and the company has not disclosed any disruption due to coronavirus as of now. However, SLK has completed an acquisition.
On a YTD basis, Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX:FLT) is down by 12.85 per cent. Recently, the company noted that it achieved a record TTV with an underlying PBT slightly above the mid-point of the guidance for the six-month period ended 31 December 2019.
Specifically, on coronavirus, FLT said that it is early to quantify the potential impact of the outbreak, but adverse effects have been noticed in its China, Singapore and Malaysia business, which accounted for $625 million in TTV in FY2019.
Webjet Limited (ASX:WEB) is down by around 3 per cent since the start of the year, and there has been no disclosure on coronavirus impact particularly. However, the company has clarified on an analyst report as investors made queries pertaining to claims made in the report.
Shares of Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) are down 9.64 per cent on a YTD basis, and the airlines have not disclosed any impact due to coronavirus.
Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) is down slightly by 1.83 per cent on a YTD basis, and no disclosure has been made in relation to the coronavirus, but the company has other problems pertaining to a share sale agreement between two parties.
Shares of Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL) are down 14.57 per cent in the last five days. BKL has reported that its newly acquired Braeside production facility has suffered adverse consequences.
BKL said the demand for immunity products has increased in Australia and Asia, but supply chain disruptions across the region are adversely impacting the business.
Stocks surpassing market expectations
JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX:JBH) increased its total sales by 3.9 per cent to $4 billion, and raised guidance for the full-year. Shares of the company ended around 11.5 per cent higher on the day announcement was made.
Bapcor Limited (ASX:BAP) posted record revenue and earnings for the half-year ended 31 December 2020. However, the margins of the automotive aftermarket tumbled as competition grew fierce.
Over 4 million shares changed hands on the day Bapcor reported results and it ended 6.1 per cent higher on the same day.
Markets are likely to overreact, you should believe in your process
Algorithm and momentum traders need an opportunity to drive the price of the stock either way and sometimes, it could make the incumbent stock cheaper or expensive. Thus, an investor should be patient, rational and believe in the process.
As an example – Shares of IDP Education Limited (ASX:IEL) were tanking since the start of coronavirus threats. On January 20, the stock ended at $20.45, and by February 11, it ended at $16.68. On 12 February 2020, the company disclosed its results with solid growth in revenues, profits and dividends.
At around 3:38 PM AEDT, on 13 February 2020, IEL was trading at $22.705, up around 5.999 percent.
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