The Role of Blockchain in Finance

Blockchain offers tremendous benefits for businesses. The question is whether they will use them to their advantage.

The rapidly progressing adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are disrupting the financial industry.

According to CoinMarketCap, the crypto market – which now includes over 9,800 digital assets – has a combined capitalization of $1.25 trillion, outpacing Apple on the road to challenge gold’s leading position ($11.65 trillion).

At the same time, a recent report estimates the blockchain market to expand from 2019’s $2.01 billion to $69.04 billion by 2027 at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 56.1%.

By now, it has become clear that distributed ledger technology (DLT) is in high demand.

But how can blockchain and crypto help financial organizations in improving business efficiency?

Blockchain Is More Than Crypto

When most people hear the phrase “blockchain”, the first thing that comes to their minds is cryptocurrency.

Indeed so, blockchain is the underlying technology of crypto, which powers nearly all digital assets on the market while promoting transparency, high security, peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions, and decentralization.

That said, blockchain is not solely about cryptocurrency transactions. Instead, DLT can be used in almost any field related to data delivery and information processing.

For that reason, many companies are either considering or already adopted blockchain technology to enhance their business processes.

Despite that DLT is still in its very early form, there are many examples of large corporations utilizing the blockchain for real-world use-cases.

One is Walmart that has partnered with IBM and Unilever to leverage the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain for tracking product supply chains.

IBM also has its own blockchain, with the multinational tech firm becoming a leading B2B distributed ledger technology provider in recent years.

Real-world blockchain applications continue to proliferate, with an increasing number of companies integrating DLT-based solutions into their business processes to achieve higher efficiency.

Through transparency in a decentralized environment, businesses can promote trust as well as attract new customers and increase their existing clients’ loyalty, who can now track their products to assess their quality via the blockchain.

In China, the clothing-retail giant H&M partnered with the VeChain blockchain platform to implement a similar solution.

By leveraging DLT, the company’s customers can access detailed information about the production of branded clothing by simply scanning a QR code via their smartphones. Furthermore, shoppers can even watch videos of how the products in the stores were made in the factories.

The Power of Blockchain

As you can see, blockchain is a powerful tool for businesses.

And for an excellent reason, DLT offers both service providers and end-users tremendous benefits compared to traditional systems.

Due to its transparent nature, blockchain technology allows data to be tracked from start to finish, eliminating the need for blind trust from customers. At the same time, it offers an opportunity for businesses to attract more users.

Furthermore, blockchain transactions are peer-to-peer, which means there’s no need for intermediaries or other third parties. As a result, companies can significantly reduce their operational costs while improving business efficiency by accelerating and automatizing processes via smart contracts.

Despite the traceability and visibility of blockchain transactions, users do not know the real persons behind the transfers, which makes them more private than traditional solutions.

How Businesses Adopt Crypto

Blockchain and cryptocurrency often walk hand in hand.

For that reason, many businesses are increasingly exploring crypto as an asset class for investments.

Since 2020, we have seen that this has become a growing trend among not just private and digital asset businesses but also publicly traded companies.

For example, MicroStrategy, Tesla, and Square have invested $2.24 billion, $1.5 billion, and $220 million in BTC to date, respectively.

But what would happen if businesses decided to adopt cryptocurrencies for payments as well?

The thing is, many of them already did.

In addition to the travel industry where digital assets have demonstrated increased adoption for payments (e.g., Expedia, airBaltic, LOT Polish Airlines), large enterprises like Microsoft, Starbucks, AXA Insurance, etc. have integrated crypto as a payment method for their solutions.

Furthermore, while PayPal has already added support for crypto transactions, Visa and MasterCard are racing against each other to integrate digital asset settlement into their massive payment networks.

Cryptocurrency Promotes Financial Sovereignty

Compared to fiat currency, crypto has three major advantages: autonomy, convertibility, and decentralization.

Blockchain networks are highly resilient against network issues and do not require third-party intervention to operate.

For that reason, cryptocurrencies are virtually independent of government action, with the latter potentially causing severe failures in the monetary system that can often lead to economic collapses.

Furthermore, with the industry maturing, it has become much easier to exchange fiat currency to crypto with only a small commission.

Thereby, crypto can be effectively used for cross-border transactions, which usually feature much faster settlements and cost-efficient fees compared to traditional international transfer (especially for payment-optimized assets like XRP or XLM).

Businesses Must Adopt Blockchain to Become More Efficient

Blockchain is a technology that is still being studied.

Yet, despite its early development stage, DLT already has a lot to offer for the companies willing to adopt it.

Besides, as more of blockchain’s potential gets harnessed, we will undoubtedly see drastic changes in the financial industry and many other sectors as key players seek to achieve greater operational efficiency.

Petr Kozyakov, co-founder and CEO at the global payment network Mercuryo

IBM Unlikely to Break Multiyear Resistance

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) is trading higher by 3% in Tuesday’s pre-market after posting the strongest quarterly growth in three years. The old school tech behemoth reported a Q2 2021 profit of $2.33 per-share, $0.04 higher than estimates, while revenue rose a modest 3.4% year-over-year to $18.75 billion, $400 million higher than consensus. The company issued inline fiscal year guidance, expecting adjusted free cash flow of $11 – $12 billion based in July exchange rates.

What’s Happening with Spin-Off?

Cloud and Cognitive Software division income rose 6% year-over-year while Global Business services added 12%. IBM reported $27 billion in total cloud revenue in the last 12 months, marking a 15% year-to-year improvement. It posted less spectacular results in the most recent quarter, with $7 billion yielding a 13% gain. Red Hat revenue grew a respectable 20% in the sixth full quarter since the company was acquired in a $34 billion transaction.

Curiously, the release provided no update on the spin-off announced in October 2020. IBM is scheduled to segregate the slow-growing Managed Infrastructure Services division into an entity called ‘Kyndryl’ by year’s end, in order to focus on faster-growing cloud and software operations. While the new slimmed-down business should command a higher multiple, the lack of updates may indicate internal issues that could impact the rollout.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street consensus is mixed despite a morning upgrade from Societe Generale, with a ‘Hold’ rating based upon 5 ‘Buy’, 11 ‘Hold’, 1 ‘Underweight’, and 1 ‘Sell’ recommendation. Price targets currently range from a low of $115 to a Street-high $185 while the stock is set to open Tuesday’s session about $7 below the median $150 target. This humble placement suggests high levels of Main Street skepticism after years of sub-par performance

IBM topped out at 215.80 in 2013 and entered a brutal decline that posted an 11-year low in March 2020.  The subsequent uptick reached an 8-year trendline of declining highs in June 2021, yielding a quick rally, followed by a failed breakout that reinforces the secular downtrend. A buying spike above 153 is now needed to mount this substantial barrier but that seems unlikely because the stock has been under active distribution for the last 18 months.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication. 

Today’s Market Wrap Up and a Glimpse Into Tuesday

Today was not a pretty day in the markets after investors fled equities on rising fears of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the damage it could do to the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 721 points, or more than 2%, for losses it hasn’t experienced since last October despite being off its lows of the session. Boeing was one of the hardest-hit stocks on worries of another lockdown, falling almost 5%.

The S&P 500 tumbled close to 2% while the Nasdaq was down just over 1%. Stocks weren’t the only asset class that suffered. Brent crude was down close to 7% to below the USD 70 threshold. Oil was set up for declines after OPEC and its allies reached an agreement over the weekend to bolster supply in an attempt to ease prices.

There was almost nowhere for investors to hide, except for bonds. Gold and bitcoin were even down on the day. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to multi-year lows at 1.17%.

Stocks to Watch

IBM is in focus after the closing bell. After getting caught up in the selling pressure during the regular session, the stock rebounded in extended-hours trading. IBM is up nearly 4% thanks to a better-than-expected quarterly report in which the company’s top and bottom lines surpassed Wall Street estimates. The company proved that the turnaround from the pandemic was not a fluke as services and software both outperformed.

Investors are also celebrating AMC Entertainment in the after-hours for some fundamental reasons. The company announced the reopening of two theatres in the Los Angeles district. AMC was able to successfully negotiate with real estate firm Caruso to open the doors on the theatres after they were temporarily shut due to the pandemic. AMC shares are up fractionally in the extended-hours session.

Apple shares dropped close to 4%. The stock was recently perched at a fresh all-time high of USD 150 and is now trading closer to USD 140. Incidentally, Montreal-based investment firm Hexavest slashed its positions in tech stocks Apple and Microsoft in favor of healthcare stocks Merck and Pfizer in early 2021.

Look Ahead

On the economic front, Housing Starts for the month of June will be released on Tuesday. Wells Fargo economists are expecting a slight increase vs. May levels amid uninterrupted demand and improved conditions for lumber.

Netflix reports its Q2 results on Tuesday. The stock managed to eke out gains on Monday amid bullish expectations on Wall Street. Halliburton reports its Q2 earnings results on Tuesday.

Earnings vs Inflation – What Is The Right Bet?

As investment money will always be looking for a place to roost many stocks still look like the best opportunity for alpha, especially some of your bigger high-tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc… who don’t face the same headwinds created by supply chain dislocations, higher commodity prices, etc.

Fundamental analysis

Bulls are hoping to see more money lured into the market by strong Q2 earnings which have so far failed to ignite a meaningful rally. Analyst expectations for S&P 500 company earnings is still around +65%, something stock bears argue is lofty considering the extreme level of supply chain dislocations and labor shortages.

There is also a lot of debate about whether corporate profit gains are “peaking” in the face of slower growth in the quarters ahead as the reopening boom begins to fade. Remember, investors place bets on the future, not what happened last quarter.

The earnings pace really picks up next week with highlights including IBM on Monday; Chipotle and Netflix on Tuesday; ASML, CocaCola, Novartis, and Verizon on Wednesday; Abbott Labs, AT&T, Biogen, Capital One, Dow Inc., Intel, Snap, Southwest Airlines, Twitter, and Union Pacific on Thursday; and American Express, Honeywell, and Nextera on Friday.

Inflation

One of the biggest factors that seem to be weighing on investor sentiment continues to be inflation. The latest indication of rising costs was reflected last week in U.S. Import Prices, which climbed for an eighth straight month in June.

However, the year-on-year increase slid to +11.2%, down from +11.6% in May is an encouraging sign that some inflationary pressures might be starting to ease. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, testifying before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, repeated the script he’s stuck with for months, saying inflation will likely remain elevated in the coming weeks and months before moderating.

Powell also told lawmakers that the Fed is not in a hurry to start paring its monthly asset purchases but he stressed that the central bank is prepared to adjust policy if they see signs of inflation moving “materially and persistently beyond levels consistent with our goal.” Wall Street increasingly expects the Fed to start trimming asset purchases later this year and even start lifting rates as soon as Q4 2022.

The Fed meets next on July 27-28 but most analysts think Powell will wait to make any big policy change announcements at either the annual Jackson Hole symposium at the end of August or possibly the FOMC’s September policy meeting. Central banks in Canada and New Zealand this week scaled back their asset purchase schemes which some worry could start to put pressure on central bankers in other developed countries to also tighten.

The European Central Bank releases its latest policy decision next Thursday. Bulls still largely believe that U.S. growth will be able to outpace “transitory” inflation pressures but the outlook for some companies could dim if the Fed starts reining in its “easy money” policies sooner than investors have been anticipating.

sp500 analysis forecast 18 july 2020

SP500 technical analysis

SP500 pulled back last week after another attempt to break out. There is no surprise we see such choppiness in the middle of summer. Moreover, very likely this price activity will stay for a few more weeks. We are still in a bull market. However, the risk of deep pullback is rising. If that happens, SP500 will target to close the gap near 4000.

On the other hand, if the price sustains above Gann resistance 4400, bulls will target 4500 at least. Two of my favourite indicators are giving opposite signals now. So, I don’t have any strong bias at the moment. Advance Decline Line remains bearish. At the same time, Insider Accumulation is bullish. In general, swing traders have to focus on daily support and resistance. Likely it will take few more weeks to see a real direction. Short-term traders can use Gann levels and Cycles on 4h charts to find trading opportunities.

Earnings to Watch Next Week: IBM, Netflix, Coca-Cola, Twitter, Intel and American Express in Focus

Earnings Calendar For The Week Of July 19

Monday (July 19)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: IBM

The Armonk, New York-based technology company is expected to report its second-quarter earnings of $2.32 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of over 6% from $2.18 per share seen in the same quarter a year ago.

The world’s largest computer firm would post revenue growth of about 1% to $18.24 billion. In the last four consecutive quarters, on average, the company has delivered earnings of over 5%.

The better-than-expected results, which will be announced on Monday, July 19, would help the stock recover its last year’s losses. IBM shares rose about 12% so far this year.

“We expect IBM to marginally beat the consensus estimates for revenues and earnings. The company has reported better than expected earnings figures in each of the last four quarters while revenue beat consensus in three of the last four quarters,” noted analysts at Trefis.

“In the past year the company has increased its investment in R&D and capex and since October has acquired seven companies focused on hybrid cloud and AI. As the pace of vaccination increases and countries are opening up, we expect the momentum to continue in the second-quarter FY2021 results as well. Our forecast indicates that IBM’s valuation is around $140 per share, which is in line with the current market price of $140.”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JULY 19

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
TSCO Tractor Supply $2.97
PPG PPG Industries $2.20
JBHT J B Hunt Transport Services $1.57
CCK Crown $1.78
STLD Steel Dynamics $3.38
PACW Pacwest Bancorp $0.99
WTFC Wintrust Financial $1.59
FNB FNB $0.28
SFBS ServisFirst Bancshares $0.93
IBM IBM $2.32
PLD ProLogis $0.45
ACI AltaGas Canada $0.68
ZION Zions Bancorporation $1.29
NVR NVR $72.35
ELS Equity Lifestyle Properties $0.28
AN AutoNation $2.67

Tuesday (July 20)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: NETFLIX, UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS

NETFLIX: The California-based global internet entertainment service company is expected to report its second-quarter earnings of $3.18 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of 100% from $1.59 per share seen in the same quarter a year ago.

The streaming video pioneer would post revenue growth of about 19% to around $7.3 billion. In the last four consecutive quarters, on average, the company has delivered earnings of over 5%.

“Areopening consumer and the lingering effects of 2020’s production delays suggest risk to consensus 2Q/3Q estimates. However, more content is on the way, supporting an increase in net additions in 4Q21/’22. In this cross-asset report, we reiterate OW on shares and reiterate our recommendation to buy 10Y bonds in credit,” noted Benjamin Swinburne, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“We believe share performance is highly dependent on increasing global membership scale. Proven success in the US and initial international markets provides a roadmap to success in emerging markets, and scale should allow NFLX to leverage content investments and drive margins. Higher global broadband penetration should increase the NFLX addressable market, driving member growth and providing further opportunity given NFLX’s global presence. Longer-term, we see the ability to drive ARPU growth, particularly given increased original programming traction.”

UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS: One of the largest airlines in the world is expected to report a loss for the sixth consecutive time of $4.21 in the second quarter of 2021 on July 20 as the aviation service provider continues to be negatively impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and renewed travel restrictions.

However, that would represent a year-over-year improvement of about 55% from -$9.31 per share seen in the same quarter a year ago.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JULY 20

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
DOV Dover $1.82
OMC Omnicom $1.38
SBNY Signature Bank $3.14
PM Philip Morris International $1.54
HCA HCA $3.16
SYF Synchrony Financial $1.38
KEY KEY $0.54
ALLY Ally Financial $1.50
MAN ManpowerGroup $1.41
GATX GATX Corp $1.03
BMI Badger Meter $0.46
ONB Old National Bancorp $0.40
FMBI First Midwest Bancorp $0.38
NFLX Netflix $3.18
CNI Canadian National Railway USA $1.49
CMG Chipotle Mexican Grill $6.50
IBKR Interactive Brokers $1.03
UAL United Airlines Holdings -$4.21
PNFP Pinnacle Financial Partners $1.44
RXN Rexnord $0.50
UCBI United Community Banks $0.62
SNBR Scs Group Plc $1.07
FULT Fulton Financial $0.33
RUSHA Rush Enterprises $0.79
ISRG Intuitive Surgical $3.07
UBS UBS Group $0.42
TRV Travelers Companies $2.38
HAL Halliburton $0.22
CFG Citizens Financial $1.10
SNV Synovus Financial $1.03
IRDM Iridium Communications -$0.06
NEOG Neogen $0.14
EXPO Exponent $0.42
RNST Renasant $0.77

Wednesday (July 21)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: COCA-COLA

The world’s largest soft drink manufacturer is expected to report its second-quarter earnings of $0.56 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of over 30% from $0.42 per share seen in the same quarter a year ago. The company’s revenue would grow over 30% to $9.4 billion.

“We are Overweight Coca-Cola (KO) after significant stock underperformance given COVID impacts on KO’s on-premise eating / drinking out business (~40% of sales) and gas & convenience (~10%) with gov’t mandated restaurant closures and reduced foot traffic. COVID impacts drove a large -9% organic sales decline in 2020, but we forecast a recovery to ~8% organic growth in 2021/2022 with a post-COVID recovery in away-from-home,” noted Dara Mohsenian, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“We believe Coke’s LT topline growth outlook is above peers, with strong pricing power, and favorable strategy tweaks under Coke’s CEO, including increased innovation and a cultural shift towards a total beverage company.”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JULY 21

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
JNJ Johnson & Johnson $2.29
ASML ASML $2.98
KO Coca-Cola $0.56
ANTM Anthem $6.34
NDAQ Nasdaq Omx $1.72
RCI Rogers Communications USA $0.62
NTRS Northern $1.71
BKR Baker Hughes Co $0.16
MTB M&T Bank $3.65
MKTX MarketAxess $1.72
LAD Lithia Motors $6.01
HOG Harley Davidson $1.21
BOKF BOK Financial $1.83
STX Seagate Technology $1.84
KNX Knight Transportation $0.88
CCI Crown Castle International $0.68
CSX CSX $0.37
DFS Discover Financial Services $4.01
EFX Equifax $1.71
GL Globe Life Inc $1.83
LVS Las Vegas Sands -$0.15
SEIC SEI Investments $0.91
WHR Whirlpool $5.95
GGG Graco $0.61
REXR Rexford Industrial Realty $0.09
OMF OneMain Holdings $2.12
THC Tenet Healthcare $1.07
FR First Industrial Realty $0.22
SLM SLM $0.37
LSTR Landstar System $2.33
SLG SL Green Realty $0.17
VMI Valmont Industries $2.50
RLI RLI $0.75
UFPI Universal Forest Products $1.56
STL Sterling Bancorp $0.50
UMPQ Umpqua $0.45
FTI FMC Technologies -$0.01
CNS Cohen & Steers $0.82
MC Moelis & Company $0.83
TCBI Texas Capital Bancshares $1.24
BXS BancorpSouth $0.67
PLXS Plexus $0.91
NVS Novartis $1.54
SAP SAP $1.44
TXN Texas Instruments $1.83
EBAY eBay $0.95
KMI Kinder Morgan $0.19
URI United Rentals $4.90
IPG Interpublic Of Companies $0.43
FNF Fidelity National Financial $1.41
CMA Comerica $1.60
MTG MGIC Investment $0.42
FCFS FirstCash $0.60
CVBF CVB Financial $0.35
PTC PTC $0.63
PPERY PT Bank Mandiri Persero TBK $0.18

Thursday (July 22)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: TWITTER, INTEL

TWITTER: The online social media company that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”, is expected to report its second-quarter earnings of $0.07 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of over 105% from a loss of -$0.16 per share seen in the same quarter a year ago.

The San Francisco, California-based company would post revenue growth of about 55% to $1.06 billion.

“Lack of Negative Revisions and Relative Valuation: Valuation continues to be expensive, but we think investors are likely to continue to pay a premium for TWTR given 1) continued turnaround progress and 2) platform scarcity,” noted Brian Nowak, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Execution Risk Remains Around Driving Advertiser ROI: Advertiser ROI has clearly improved on Twitter, but the company needs to improve ad targeting and measurability to compete with the larger players. To do that it will have to further personalize the content that users see and use its data more effectively, both of which remain key strategic challenges (and priorities) for management.”

INTEL: The California-based multinational corporation and technology company is expected to report its second-quarter earnings of $1.07 per share, which represents a year-over-year decline of about 14% from $1.23 per share seen in the same quarter a year ago. The company’s revenue would fall over 10% to $17.73 billion.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JULY 22

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
ULVR Unilever £1.29
PSON Pearson £8.40
ABB ABB $0.36
CBSH Commerce Bancshares $1.02
DOW Dow Chemical $2.36
DHR Danaher $2.05
FITB Fifth Third Bancorp $0.81
FAF First American Financial $1.70
RS Reliance Steel & Aluminum $4.73
T AT&T $0.79
WBS Webster Financial $0.99
UNP Union Pacific $2.54
BKU BankUnited $0.86
SNA Snap-On $3.21
ABT Abbott $1.02
NEM Newmont Mining $0.81
MMC Marsh & McLennan Companies $1.42
BIIB Biogen $4.60
TRN Trinity Industries $0.09
DGX Quest Diagnostics $2.86
ALLE Allegion $1.30
CLF Cliffs Natural Resources $1.52
TPH Tri Pointe Homes $0.81
VLY Valley National Bancorp $0.29
EWBC East West Bancorp $1.39
DHI DR Horton $2.82
SON Sonoco Products $0.86
POOL Pool $5.49
WSO Watsco $3.01
SAFE 3 Sixty Risk $0.33
CSL Carlisle Companies $2.22
WRB W.R. Berkley $0.98
SAM Boston Beer $6.69
SIVB SVB Financial $6.42
CE Celanese $4.34
RNR Renaissancere $4.62
TWTR Twitter $0.07
INTC Intel $1.07
WSFS Wsfs Financial $0.90
GBCI Glacier Bancorp $0.72
ABCB Ameris Bancorp $1.20
OZK Bank Ozk $0.92
ASB Associated Banc $0.47
FFBC First Financial Bancorp $0.52
VICR Vicor $0.33
VRSN Verisign $1.36
COF Capital One Financial $4.57
INDB Independent Bank $1.08
ASR Grupo Aeroportuario Del Sureste $36.49
SKX Skechers USA $0.51
RHI Robert Half International $1.05
FE FirstEnergy $0.57
SNAP Snap -$0.18
AEP American Electric Power $1.12
LUV Southwest Airlines -$0.27
AAL American Airlines -$2.12
DPZ Dominos Pizza $2.86
ALK Alaska Air -$0.62
NUE Nucor $4.76
BX Blackstone $0.78
FCX Freeport-McMoran $0.75
SASR Sandy Spring Bancorp $1.20
GPC Genuine Parts $1.52
ORI Old Republic International $0.53
HTH Hilltop $1.03
CROX Crocs $1.54
BCO Brinks $0.98
FFIN First Financial Bankshares $0.38
CNA Centrica £1.80

Friday (July 23)

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
HON Honeywell International $1.94
SLB Schlumberger $0.26
AXP American Express $1.63
KMB Kimberly Clark $1.74
NEP Nextera Energy Partners $0.61
ROP Roper Industries $3.67
RF Regions Financial $0.53
NEE NextEra Energy $0.69
AIMC Altra Industrial Motion $0.81
GNTX Gentex $0.44
FBP First Bancorp FBP $0.22
VTR Ventas -$0.08
GT Goodyear Tire & Rubber $0.16
ACKAY Arcelik ADR $0.48
MGLN Magellan Health $0.60
SXT Sensient Technologies $0.78

 

IBM Q2 Earnings to Rise 6%; Target Price $151

The Armonk, New York-based technology company, IBM, is expected to report its second-quarter earnings of $2.32 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of over 6% from $2.18 per share seen in the same quarter a year ago.

The world’s largest computer firm would post revenue growth of about 1% to $18.24 billion. In the last four consecutive quarters, on average, the company has delivered earnings of over 5%.

The better-than-expected results, which will be announced on Monday, July 19, would help the stock recover its last year’s losses. IBM shares rose about 12% so far this year.

Analyst Comments

“We expect IBM to report in-line 2Q results with upside risk from FX. While largely negative CIO survey data and recent headlines leave us more cautious ST, our LT outlook is unchanged. We view CEO Arvind’s sustainable growth strategy positively and believe the stock set-up improves in 2022,” noted Katy L. Huberty, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“We expect Cloud & Cognitive Software and GBS to continue improving through 2021 as IT spend returns, but still believe 2021 is a challenging year for IBM given the upcoming Infrastructure Services spin. Near-term, we expect IBM to be pressured by greater recurring revenue mix vs. peers as IT spending recovers, tough 1H21 mainframe compares, and the fact that spin transactions historically don’t outperform until post-close. Results from our AlphaWise CIO surveys also point to lower spending intentions with IBM despite the Red Hat deal. While we view IBM’s go-to-market changes, M&A, and partnership investments positively, we require further evidence of improvement before getting constructive.”

IBM Stock Price Forecast

Eight analysts who offered stock ratings for IBM in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $151.75 with a high forecast of $175.00 and a low forecast of $121.00.

The average price target represents an 8.05% change from the last price of $140.45. From those eight analysts, four rated “Buy”, three rated “Hold” while one rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the stock price forecast of $152 with a high of $205 under a bull scenario and $78 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Equal-weight” rating on the technology company’s stock.

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price objective to $165 from $160 and gave the company an “outperform” rating. Stifel Nicolaus lifted their price objective to $151 from $147 and gave the company a “buy” rating. BMO Capital Markets lifted their price target to $150 from $138 and gave the company a “market perform” rating.

“We expect IBM to marginally beat the consensus estimates for revenues and earnings. The company has reported better than expected earnings figures in each of the last four quarters while revenue beat consensus in three of the last four quarters,” noted analysts at Trefis.

“In the past year the company has increased its investment in R&D and capex and since October has acquired seven companies focused on hybrid cloud and AI. As the pace of vaccination increases and countries are opening up, we expect the momentum to continue in the second-quarter FY2021 results as well. Our forecast indicates that IBM’s valuation is around $140 per share, which is in line with the current market price of $140.”

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

With Cloud and Ai, Ibm Broadens 5g Deals With Verizon and Telefonica

By Clara-Laeila Laudette and Supantha Mukherjee

Big technology players such as Microsoft and Amazon are vying for a share of 5G revenue by offering telecom operators next-generation software tools.

IBM, using technology it obtained from buying software firm Red Hat, will offer the telecom operators cloud services to run their networks and assist them in selling products tailored to customers. No financial terms were disclosed about the tie-ups, which broadened IBM’s existing partnerships with the two firms.

A cloud platform uses software instead of physical equipment to perform network functions, helping telecom operators build 5G networks faster, reduce costs and sell customised services.

“It’s a disruptive time in this particular market segment, telcos are trying to position themselves as the destination for services like augmented reality, machine learning and AI,” Darell Jordan-Smith, vice president of Redhat, told Reuters.

On the AI front, IBM and Spain’s Telefonica have created a virtual assistant that they say will remove friction points, such as long wait times, by automating the handling of frequently asked questions and tasks like billing.

“We see this as an existential moment for telco operators with 5G: architecturally, they’re looking to gain more control on their platforms and rethink their network as a digital world rather than a structured physical model,” said Steve Canepa, IBM’s general manager for communications business.

(Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette and Supantha Mukherjee in Barcelona)

IBM at Cusp of Historic Breakout

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) has been testing 8-year resistance for the last six weeks and looks ready to break out, entering the first secular uptrend since 2013’s all-time high at 215.90. A fourth quarter spin-off of poorly-performing legacy divisions has attracted new investors but macro tailwinds and the tech behemoth’s blockchain business are also contributing to the upside, generating a 17% year-to-date return.

Q4 Spin-off Attracting Investors

The stock rose 3.8% in April after beating Q1 2021 top and bottom line estimates and reaffirming fiscal year guidance. The company has continued an acquisition binge into June after adding seven smaller operations earlier this year, in an effort to populate the new high growth operation. That entity is now called ‘NewCo’, a generic placeholder until IBM executives figure out a more appropriate name.

The Managed Infrastructure Services (MIS) business is scheduled to spin off into a publicly-traded entity by year’s end. Core operations will then focus on IBM’s rapidly-growing cloud and artificial intelligence businesses. It makes sense that NewCo will command a higher price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) than its predecessor, marking the company’s most ambitious initiative so far this century. Unfortunately, pre spin-off investors will also get proportional shares of the legacy operation, which could sink even further in coming years.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street consensus has barely budged so far in 2021, highlighting major skepticism after years of misguided management. IBM is now rated as a ‘Hold’ based upon 5 ‘Buy’, 9 ‘Hold’, 1 Underweight, and 2 ‘Sell’ recommendations. Price targets currently range from a low of $115 to a Street-high $185 while the stock is set to open Monday’s session about $2 above the median $145 target. Additional upside may be limited with this placement until analysts jump onboard the bull train.

The stock hit an all-time high in the first quarter of 2013 and entered an historic decline, carving a long string of lower highs and lower lows into March 2020’s 11-year low at 90.56. The first recovery wave stalled at 135 in June, ahead of an April 2021 breakout that reached the 8-year trendline of lower highs at month’s end. Price action has held like glue to this critical level in the last six weeks, raising odds for a breakout that targets the 2020 high at 159.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication.

IBM Poised for Breakout After Earnings and Sales Top Estimates

Shares in International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) jumped 2.99% in Monday’s extended-hours session after the American multinational technology company posted better-than-expected quarterly results.

The New York-based computing giant reported first quarter (Q1) adjusted earnings of $1.77 per share, comfortably ahead of the $1.63 mark analysts had expected. Revenue of $17.73 billion also came in ahead of forecasts and edged up nearly 1% from a year earlier, halting four consecutive quarters of declines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company’s Cloud and Cognitive Software Global segment, Business Services division and Systems business drove top-line growth, recording respective year-over-year (YoY) increases of 4%, 2%, and 4%.

“This quarter, we saw an improved trajectory in project activity and client-based business volumes, including in some of the industries most affected by the pandemic such as retail and consumer products,” said IBM CFO Jim Kavanaugh, per CNBC.

Through Monday’s close, IBM stock has a market value of $119 billion, offers an enticing 4.88% dividend yield, and trades nearly 6% higher on the year. Over the past 12 months, the shares have gained 10.82%, while the S&P 500 has added around 45% over the same period. From a valuation standpoint, the stock trades 14% above its five-year average forward earnings multiple of 10.69.

Wall Street View

Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty raised the bank’s price target on IBM to $150 from $140 while maintaining her ‘Equal Weight’ rating on the shares. Huberty anticipates a robust IT spending recovery in the quarters ahead, which she believes implies material upside to current consensus estimates.

Brokerage coverage elsewhere remains mixed. The stock receives 10 ‘Hold’ ratings, 5 ‘Buy’ ratings, and 2 ‘Sell’ ratings. Twelve-month price targets range between $115 to $165, with the median target sitting at $140. Expect further upgrades in the coming weeks as analysts factor in the company’s upbeat quarterly report.

Technical Outlook and Trading Tactics

IBM shares have spent the past few months consolidating under a multi-year downtrend line and the 200-day simple moving average (SMA). Aftermarket trading suggests an open Tuesday morning at $37, which would propel the stock above these two closely watched indicators. Such a move could be a catalyst for further upside, especially if above-average volume accompanies the gains.

If a breakout does occur, active traders should look for a retest of the 2020 high at $158.75 and protect capital with a stop-loss order placed under this month’s low at $133.40.

For a look at today’s earnings schedule, check out our earnings calendar.

IBM Spin-Off Attracting Little Excitement

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) reports Q1 2021 earnings after Monday’s closing bell, with analysts expecting a profit of $1.62 per-share on $17.35 billion in revenue. If met, earnings-per-share (EPS) will mark a 12% profit decline compared to the same quarter in 2020, which included the Wuhan outbreak and worldwide lockdowns. The stock fell nearly 10% in January after missing Q4 revenue estimates and failing to provide a detailed fiscal year outlook.

IBM Q4 Spin-Off

The stock rallied to a 52-week high in March, fueled by the spin-off of the legacy Managed Infrastructure Services (MIS) business into a publicly-traded entity, in a transaction expected to close by year’s end. A flood of partnerships and acquisitions is populating the new high growth core operation, including purchases of cloud and fintech firms TruQua Enterprises, Instana, Expertus Technologies, Nordcloud, 7Summits, Taos Mountain, and myInvenio,

The spin-off will isolate slow-growing segments responsible for the tech giant’s downtrend so that core operations, dubbed NewCo, can concentrate on rapidly-growing cloud and artificial intelligence businesses. NewCo should attract a higher price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) than the predecessor, marking IBM’s most ambitious initiative in decades. However, shareholders will also get proportional shares of the legacy company, which could perform poorly in coming years.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street is taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude with the upcoming spin-off, posting a consensus ‘Hold’ rating based upon 5 ‘Buy’, 10 ‘Hold’, and 2 ‘Sell’ recommendations. Price targets currently range from a low of $115 to a Street-high $165 while the stock closed Friday’s session just $2 below the median $140 target. This placement sets the stage for higher prices in reaction to an upbeat report that focuses on the benefits of the upcoming reorganization.

The stock entered a multiyear downtrend after topping out in 2012 and may have bottomed out in March 2020. Lower highs posted during the decline have carved a well-defined trendline that now places major resistance at 150. A breakout will confirm the first uptrend in eight years but that isn’t likely in the short-term because accumulation readings have slumped to two-year lows despite the first quarter uptick, predicting rangebound action into the foreseeable future.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication.

U.S. Market Wrap and Forecast for Tuesday

Major benchmarks popped up to new highs at the start of Monday’s U.S. session but conviction was low, yielding a slow motion downtick that got bought over the noon hour. SP-500 Volatility Index (VIX) gained about 2% despite higher equity prices, signaling nervousness about the endless uptick. Even so, the U.S. government is about to send citizens another barrel of greenbacks, just in time to reload slumping Robinhood accounts.

No Love For FAANG Stocks

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) failed a symmetrical triangle breakout last week and is consolidating near the February low, about to enter the eighth month of dead sideways action. There’s a lot of ‘dead’ money hanging around big tech stocks these days, with more aggressive capital rotating into fintech, EV plays, and SPACs. The GameStop ‘event’ hasn’t helped traditional buying interest, unnerving many risk-adverse bulls.

Other tech stocks gained ground on Monday, lifting shares of NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA), International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD). However, PHLX Semiconductor Index (SOX) looks like its grinding through a corrective pattern that could roll over and test the January low at any time. Twitter Inc. (TWTR), General Motors Co. (GM), and Walt Disney Co. (DIS) posted strong upside as well, which is more bearish than bullish headed into their mid-week reports.

Looking Ahead to Mid-Week

Partisan politics could control price action through mid-week, with an impeachment trial and its foregone conclusion feeling like a waste of time during stimulus negotiations. In addition, the rally is getting ‘long in the tooth’, raising odds for a multiweek reversal that ‘sticks’. The Nasdaq-100 index tested or crossed the 200-day EMA five times in 2019 but just once in 2020 and it’s now been 10 months since that instrument shook out weak hands.

This week’s economic calendar is light as a feather, with the CPI report on Wednesday and UMich Sentiment on Friday. Neither is likely to move bond or equity markets, allowing macro influences to control the ticker tape. The upcoming holiday weekend in the United States could impact trading later in thes week, with a well-documented positive bias likely to support higher prices. Even so, a contrarian would say that clear blue skies foretell ominous dark clouds.

For a look at all of this week’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

S&P 500, Dow Stumble, Dragged Down by Blue-Chip Technology Stalwarts IBM, Intel

The major Wall Street stock indexes took a breather on Friday with two even settling lower after posting record highs earlier in the week. Traders blamed the weakness on losses in blue-chip technology stalwarts Intel and IBM following their quarterly results, as hopes dimmed for a full economic reopening in the coming months.

Cash Market Performances

In the cash market on Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 3841.47, down 11.60 or -0.34%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 30996.98, down 179.03 or -0.65% and the technology-based NASDAQ Composite closed at 13543.06, up 12.14 or +0.11%.

Friday’s Recap

U.S. stocks were under pressure before the cash market opening because of the IBM miss and weak PMI data out of Europe. Investors took profits in Asia and Europe ahead of the weekend, leading to a drop in investor sentiment.

The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ pared some losses after the opening bell as data showed U.S. manufacturing activity surprisingly surged to its highest level in more than 13-1/2 years in early January, in contrast to a disappointing result in the purchasing manager data in Europe earlier.

In the U.S., Flash Manufacturing PMI rose to 59.1, up from 57.1 and better than the 56.6 forecast. Flash Services PMI jumped to 57.5, up from a revised lower 54.8 and better than the 53.3 estimate.

Existing Home Sales surged to 6.76 million units, beating the 6.55 million unit forecast and the previously reported 6.71 million units.

White House Coronavirus Update

In a White House event on Thursday, President Biden painted a bleak picture of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak in his first few days in office, warning that it will take months to turn around the pandemic’s trajectory and that fatalities are expected to dramatically rise over the next few weeks.

Biden said the U.S. death toll from the pandemic will probably top 500,000 next month.

Yellen Nomination Sails Through Senate Panel; Final Vote Set for Monday

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Friday unanimously approved Janet Yellen’s nomination as the first woman Treasury Secretary, indicating that she will win full Senate approval, but Republicans called for her to work with them in developing economic policies.

Stocks Making Headlines

IBM Corp slumped 9.83% and was the top drag on the Dow Jones Industrial Average after it missed estimates for quarterly revenue, hurt by a rare sales decline in its software unit.

Intel Corp shed 8.93% as new Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger’s post-earnings comments suggested the lack of a strong embrace of outsourcing.

However, losses in the tech sector were offset by gains from Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Facebook Inc, keeping the declines on the main U.S. stock indexes in check.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Stocks Move Lower After Disappointing Reports From IBM And Intel

S&P 500 Futures Decline Amid Sell-Off In Tech Stocks

Shares of IBM and Intel are losing ground in premarket trading after the release of their quarterly earnings reports.

IBM missed analyst estimates on revenue amid weak performance of its Cloud & Congnitive Software segment. IBM stock has underperfomed its tech peers for years, and another disappointing report put significant pressure on the company’s shares which are losing more than 8% in premarket trading.

Meanwhile, Intel stated that it would continue to internally produce the majority of its products. As Intel has recently suffered from production issues, the stock found itself under pressure after this announcement and is currently losing more than 4% in premarket trading.

Big tech stocks like Facebook, Apple, Amazon are also under pressure ahead of the market open, and S&P 500 futures are down by more than 0.5%.

Oil Is Under Strong Pressure Amid Rising Coronavirus Cases In China

WTI oil is down by about 3% today as traders focus on the continued spread of the virus in China. Strong demand from China is the main driver of the global demand for oil so traders pay close attention to recent developments as the virus starts spreading across the country, forcing Chinese authorities to implement anti-virus measures in affected areas.

The recent API Crude Oil Stock Change report, which indicated that crude inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels, also hurt sentiment, although traders will still wait for confirmation from EIA Weekly Petroleum Status Report which will be published today. Not surprisingly, oil-related stocks are already under significant pressure in premarket trading.

PMI Reports Show That The Second Wave Of The Virus Continues To Put Pressure On The Services Segment

Today, the U.S will release flash PMI reports for January. Manufacturing PMI is projected to decline from 57.1 in December to 56.5 in January while Services PMI is expected to decrease from 54.8 to 53.6.

Many countries have already released their PMI reports which showed that the services segment continued to suffer from the second wave of the virus. Euro Area Services PMI declined from 46.4 to 45 while UK Services PMI decreased from 49.4 to 38.8.

If U.S. Services PMI report is worse than expected, the market will find itself under additional pressure.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

IBM Shares Slump as Quarterly Revenue Disappoints

Armonk, New York-based technology company, IBM’s shares slumped about 8% in pre-market trading on Friday after the computer firm missed market expectations for quarterly revenue in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The world’s largest computer firm said its total revenue declined 6.5% to $20.37 billion, lower than the market expectations of $20.67 billion. However, the computer firm reported an adjusted EPS of $2.07 per share, higher than the Wall Street estimate of $1.81.

IBM reported fourth-quarter results that beat CapIQ earnings consensus expectations–but top-line performance weighed on overall results, as the company’s revenue came behind CapIQ consensus estimates.  While we forecast are turn to top-line growth for IBM in the upcoming fiscal year, a meager annual growth of 1% year over year is the extent we expect.

IBM’s largest and worst-performing segment, global technology services are still expected to be spun off by the end of fiscal 2021. We continue to believe this spin-off will only improve IBM’s remaining business in optics–as the separation should expose IBM’s other segments’ better growth and profitability profiles. We are maintaining our fair value estimate of $125 per share for the narrow-moat name, which leaves shares fairly valued, in our view.”

IBM forecasts to grow revenue for the full year 2021 based on the current foreign exchange rates. The adjusted free cash flow of $11 billion to $12 billion in 2021. The company expects adjusted free cash flow excludes nearly $3 billion of cash impacts from the company’s structural actions initiated in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the transaction costs associated with the separation of the managed infrastructure services business, the company added in the statement.

IBM shares plunged about 8% to $21.17 in pre-market trading on Friday. However, the stock fell 6% in 2020.

IBM Stock Price Forecast

Eighteen analysts forecast the average price in 12 months at $139. The average price target represents a 5.6% increase from the last price of $131.65. From those 18 analysts, one rated “Buy”, 11 rated “Hold” and six rated “Sell”, according to Marketbeat.

Morgan Stanley gave a base target price of $140 with a high of $189 under a bull scenario and $79 under the worst-case scenario. The firm currently has an “Equal-weight” rating on the computer firm’s stock.

“We remain on the sidelines as spin transactions don’t outperform until post-close, IBM is a late-cycle play, and mainframe comps are difficult. The 4Q software miss follows deteriorating proforma growth since the RHT acquisition and needs to reverse before the stock can work,” said Katy Huberty, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research lowered International Business Machines to a “sell” rating from a “hold” rating and set a $124 target price. BMO Capital Markets lowered their target price to $138 from $140 and set a “market perform” rating. ValuEngine upgraded to a “hold” rating from a “sell”.

Analyst Comments

“The spin of Infrastructure Services is a step in the right direction to drive sustainable revenue growth, but we expect 2021 to be a challenging transition year for IBM. Near-term, we expect IBM to be pressured by greater recurring revenue mix vs. peers as IT spending recovers, tough mainframe compares in 1H21, and the fact that spin transactions historically don’t outperform until post-close,” Morgan Stanley’s Huberty added.

“Results from our AlphaWise CIO surveys also point to lower spending intentions with IBM despite the Red Hat deal. Despite valuation below Services and Software comps, near-term macro factors and lack of conviction around IBM’s ability to stabilize revenue in the medium/long-term keep us Equal-weight.”

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

US Stock Index Futures Testing Record Highs as Earnings Season Continues

U.S. stock futures are edging higher in overnight trading on Wednesday following a flat opening after the major cash market averages hit record highs on inauguration day.

At 07:21 GMT, benchmark S&P 500 Index futures are up 0.27%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average is trading higher by 0.16% and the tech-based NASDAQ Composite is up by 0.49%.

The early price action indicates investors have moved on from the bearish earnings report released by United Airlines after the close on Wednesday.

Major airline United dipped more than 2% in extended trading on Wednesday after missing on the top and bottom lines of its quarterly earnings. The airline warned sales would continue to suffer in the early part of 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

Earnings season continues on Thursday with Baker Hughes, Union Pacific and Citrix reporting before the bell. Intel, IBM and CSX report after the closing bell on Thursday.

In economic news, the Labor Department will release last week’s jobless claims data at 13:30 GMT on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect 925,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week, down from the previous week’s 965,000.

Wednesday Recap

U.S. equities rose to record highs on Wednesday as the latest batch of strong corporate earnings rolled in, as Joe Biden was sworn in as commander in chief.

The S&P 500 Index climbed 1.4%, notching an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 250 points to close at a record and the NASDAQ Composite surged nearly 2%, closing at a record. The technology heavy index was helped by a 16% jump in Netflix’s stock on the back of the streaming giant’s strong earnings and subscriber results.

The rest of the FAANG group, due to report results in the coming weeks, jumped with Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Apple and Google-parent Alphabet Inc rising between 2% and 5%.

Eight of the 11 S&P sectors advanced in afternoon trading, with technology, communication services and consumer discretionary among the biggest gainers.

The broader banks index, however, shed about 1.6%, declining for the third day.

Earnings Results

Morgan Stanley edged higher after its quarterly profit blew past estimates driven by strength in its trading business.

Procter & Gamble Co raised its full-year sales forecast for a second time as it benefited from sustained coronavirus-driven demand for cleaning products. Its shares, however, slipped about 1.4% after it warned that the pace of sales might slow as vaccines roll out.

UnitedHealth Group Inc slid 0.3% after the health insurer’s quarterly profit slumped nearly 38%, weighed down by costs related to its programs to make COVID-19 testing and treatment more accessible for its customers.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

IBM Waking Up From the Dead

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) reports Q4 2020 results after Thursday’s U.S. closing bell, with analysts expecting a profit of $2.05 per-share on $20.57 billion in revenue. If met, earnings-per-share (EPS) will mark a troubling 56% profit decline, compared to the same quarter in 2019. The stock fell 6.5% in October after meeting modest top and bottom line estimates, consistent with the company’s long-term status as a market laggard.

IBM Acquisition Binge Ahead of Spin-Off

However, bullish stars are aligning for strong price action that could catch analysts and traders off-guard. In October, IBM announced the spin-off of its Managed Infrastructure Services (MIS) business into a publicly-traded entity, in a transaction expected to close at the end of 2021. In addition, the company has been on an acquisition binge since the last report, scooping up cloud and fintech firms TruQua Enterprises, Instana, Expertus Technologies, Nordcloud, 7Summits, and Taos Mountain.

The spin-off will segregate slow-growing and legacy segments, allowing core operations to focus on rapidly-growing cloud and artificial intelligence businesses. The new IBM should command a much higher multiple than the old school tech behemoth, marking their most important development in decades. The company just took another step on that path, announcing that Senior VP of Global Markets Martin Schroeter will head the spun-off operation.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

Wall Street has abandoned IBM in recent years, with just six analysts covering developments. It’s currently rated as a marginal ‘Moderate Buy’, based upon 2 ‘Buy’, 4 ‘Hold’, and 0 ‘Sell’ recommendations. Price targets currently range from a low of $135 to a Street-high $160 while the stock closed Friday’s session nearly $7 below the low target. This depressed placement favors higher prices but rapid gains will take time, given years of skepticism.

The stock topped out in 2013 and entered a bear market, posting lower highs and lower lows into March 2020’s 11-year low. This price action had added to a massive triangle pattern that’s carved two higher lows since 2008. Price is now situated at the dead center of the pattern, which is typical just before a trend move, higher or lower. Given positive catalysts, bulls should have a perfect opportunity to break the descending trendline, signaling the first uptrend since 2013.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication.

Earnings to Watch Next Week: Logitech, Goldman Sachs, NetFlix and IBM in Focus

Next week’s earnings are of much significance for major market movements as 2021 is believed to be a year of recovery on hopes of successful roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Earnings Calendar For The Week Of January 18

Monday (January 18)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: LOGITECH INTERNATIONAL

Logitech International S.A., a Swiss-American manufacturer of computer peripherals and software, is expected to report a profit of $1.08 in the fiscal third quarter, which represents year-over-year growth of about 29% from the same quarter last year when the company reported 84 cents per share.

The Lausanne-based company’s revenue to grow over 35% year-over-year to $1.23 billion from $902.69 million in the same period last year.

“We are bullish into Logitech‘s F3Q21 earnings report next week as our December quarter checks point to a better than the expected market environment, most notably for PC peripherals. We’d be buyers into the print and raise our PT to $113 (from $106) to account for recent peer multiple expansion,” noted Erik Woodring, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Tuesday (January 19)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: GOLDMAN SACHS, NETFLIX

GOLDMAN SACHS: New York-based leading global investment bank is expected to report a profit of $7.33 in the fourth quarter, which represents year-over-year growth of about 56% from the same quarter last year when the company reported $4.69 per share. The bank’s revenue is expected to dip 4.9% from the year-ago quarter to $9.47 billion.

“As market volatility and the urgency around capital raising activity (both equity and debt) subside in 2021, we expect total revenues decline 11% y/y from a strong 2020. We are valuing the group on normalized 2023 EPS. While we still see 15%+ upside to Goldman Sachs (GS) based on this methodology, we see even more upside elsewhere in the group, particularly in consumer finance stocks which have been under more pressure,” said Betsy Graseck, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“This drives our Underweight rating. Over time, we expect GS can drive some multiple expansion as management executes on its multi-year strategic shift towards higher recurring revenues.”

NETFLIX: California-based global internet entertainment service company is expected to report a profit of $1.35 in the fourth quarter, which represents year-over-year growth of about 4% from the same quarter last year when the company reported $1.30 per share. The streaming video pioneer’s revenue is expected to surge over 20% from the year-ago quarter to $6.60 billion.

“We expect paid net adds to come in the above guide, helped by ongoing shutdowns & seasonal strength. Our view is supported by our positive proprietary 4Q20 survey data, which implies rising pricing power into year-end. We tweaked estimate’s & introduced ’21 quarters; in turn, our DCF-based price target rises to $650 from $625 prior; reiterate ‘Outperform’ rating,” said John Blackledge, equity analyst at Cowen and company.

NetFlix (NFLX) shares were +67% in ’20 alongside a pandemic surge, following massive sub beats in 1Q / 2Q respectively and 28.1MM total paid net adds in 1Q-3Q ’20, up 47% y/y. With consumers staying home amid colder weather & limited social activities, we expect Netflix engagement to remain high; meanwhile, to the extent, there is any NT pressure on UCAN paid subs from the 4Q US price increase, we would consider this a buying opportunity for NFLX shares as the co. grows the value prop alongside rising ARPU.”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 19

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
PACW Pacwest Bancorp $0.67
CMA Comerica $1.18
ONB Old National Bancorp $0.38
SCHW Charles Schwab $0.65
GS Goldman Sachs $7.33
STT State Street $1.57
HAL Halliburton $0.15
FULT Fulton Financial $0.27
JBHT J B Hunt Transport Services $1.30
ZION Zions Bancorporation $1.01
PNFP Pinnacle Financial Partners $1.36
FNB FNB $0.24
UCBI United Community Banks $0.60
NFLX Netflix $1.35
IBKR Interactive Brokers $0.58
RNST Renasant $0.59
SBNY Signature Bank $2.91

Wednesday (January 20)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: UNITEDHEALTH

UNITEDHEALTH: Minnesota-based health insurance and health care data analysis giant is expected to report a profit of $2.41 in the fourth quarter, which represents a year-over-year decline of about 40% from the same quarter last year when the company reported $3.90 per share.

The largest insurance company by Net Premiums is witnessing a slowdown in its international business as increased joblessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic has dented demand for commercial membership.

UnitedHealth Group is the number one Medicare Advantage player with 28% market share, the number two Medicare PDP player with 20% market share, and the number two commercial player with 15% market share. United’s model is enhanced via vertical integration with its OptumRx PBM platform, which is one of the three largest PBMs in the country,” wrote Ricky Goldwasser, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“With a large lead in the breadth of services offerings and considerable exposure to government businesses, UnitedHealth is well-positioned for any potential changes in the US healthcare system. A strong balance sheet and continued solid cash generation give flexibility for continued M&A.”

United Airlines is expected to report a deep loss in the fourth quarter due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, which harmed demand for travel.

Ohio-based Tide detergent and Pampers diaper manufacturer Procter & Gamble is expected to report an increase in profits on rising demand for home care and laundry products amid the COIVD-19 pandemic.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 20

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
UNH UnitedHealth $2.41
PG Procter & Gamble $1.51
ASML Asml $2.96
MS Morgan Stanley $1.30
USB US Bancorp $0.95
BK Bank Of New York Mellon $0.88
FAST Fastenal $0.33
CFG Citizens Financial $0.91
CBSH Commerce Bancshares $0.92
BOKF BOK Financial $1.92
FCEL Fuelcell Energy -$0.07
KMI Kinder Morgan $0.24
DFS Discover Financial Services $2.36
UAL United Airlines Holdings -$6.56
AA Alcoa $0.09
WTFC Wintrust Financial $1.41
UMPQ Umpqua $0.48
HWC Hancock Whitney Corp $0.90
PLXS Plexus $1.10
STL Sterling Bancorp $0.46
PTC PTC $0.65

Thursday (January 21)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: IBM

IBM: Armonk, New York-based technology and consulting company is expected to report a profit of $1.81 in the fourth quarter, which represents a year-over-year decline of over 60% from the same quarter last year when the company reported $4.71 per share.

“For 2020, IBM refrained from providing any guidance, citing business uncertainty. Nevertheless, management stated that the fourth quarter is a seasonally strong quarter. The company is witnessing robust pipelines across hybrid cloud and data platform, AI solutions, in Cognitive Apps business driven by strength in Cloud Paks and Security, cloud-based transformation services in GBS segment, and App modernization offerings,” noted analysts at ZACKS Research.

“Also, management is banking on advancement in Red Hat “actual backlog growth.” Moreover, gains from the rapid uptake of IBM z15 is anticipated to be a tailwind. The company also anticipates to end 2020 with reduced debt levels.”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 21

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
UNP Union Pacific $2.24
TFC Truist Financial Corp $0.85
TAL TAL International $0.04
TRV Travelers Companies $3.16
BKR Baker Hughes Co $0.17
FITB Fifth Third Bancorp $0.68
NTRS Northern $1.49
MTB M&T Bank $3.02
KEY KEY $0.43
CTXS Citrix Systems $1.34
HOMB Home Bancshares $0.39
INDB Independent Bank $1.02
FBC Flagstar Bancorp $2.36
WBS Webster Financial $0.75
BKU BankUnited $0.71
WNS Wns Holdings $0.59
INTC Intel $1.10
IBM IBM $1.81
ISRG Intuitive Surgical $3.09
CSX CSX $1.01
PPG PPG Industries $1.58
SIVB SVB Financial $3.79
TCBI Texas Capital Bancshares $1.13
ASB Associated Banc $0.30
PBCT People’s United Financial $0.32
OZK Bank Ozk $0.78
WAL Western Alliance Bancorporation $1.33
BKRKY Bank Rakyat $0.17
MTCH Match Group $0.50
MTG MGIC Investment $0.37
STX Seagate Technology $1.13

Friday (January 22)

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
EDU New Oriental Education Tech $0.26
ABBV AbbVie $2.86
HON Honeywell International $2.00
SLB Schlumberger $0.17
KSU Kansas City Southern $1.93
RF Regions Financial $0.42
HBAN Huntington Bancshares $0.29
ALLY Ally Financial $1.05
FHN First Horizon National $0.28
HRC Hill-Rom $1.05
NEP Nextera Energy Partners $0.39
IBN Icici $0.14
TOP Topdanmark A/S kr3.63

 

IBM Slides After Revenues Miss Wall Street Forecasts

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) shares fell 2.77% in after-hours trade Monday after the computing giant posted its third consecutive quarter of declining revenue as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh heavily on its end customers in industries such as retail and transportation.

The company reported third-quarter (Q3) net income of $2.3 billion, or $2.58 a share, roughly in-line with analyst forecasts. However, the figure was down from earnings per share (EPS) of $2.68 in the same quarter last year. Revenues during the period slumped 2.5% to $17.56 billion and came in below the consensus mark of $17.54 billion. The company has now seen revenue decline in all but four of the last 33 quarters on an annualized basis.

Through yesterday’s close, IBM stock has a market capitalization of $111.8 billion, offers an enticing 5.18% dividend yield, and trades relatively flat on the year and over the past three months as of Oct. 20, 2020.

Company Spinoff

Earlier this month, IBM announced that it plans to spin off its IT outsourcing business to focus more closely on cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI). The company said revenue for its cloud computing offerings grew 19% in the third quarter. “We are making strategic decisions, taking actions, and increasing investments today to better position our business and accelerate our top-line growth on a sustainable basis,” CEO Arvind Krishna told investors during the earnings call, per CNBC.

Wall Street View

Morgan Staley’s Katy L. Huberty raised her price target on IBM to $140 from $128 while maintaining her ‘Equal-weight’ on the stock after the firm revealed details of the spinoff. The analyst argues the company is moving in the right direction by reducing its reliance on its legacy businesses and investing more in technology growth areas like the cloud and AI. More broadly, the stock receives 4 ‘Buy’ ratings, 9 ‘Hold’ ratings, and 2 ‘Sell’ ratings. IBM currently trades 11.5% below Wall Street’s median 12-month price target of $140.

Technical Outlook and Trading Tactics

IBM shares have oscillated roughly within a 20-point range since early May, offering several opportunities for traders who favor rangebound strategies. More recently, price broke above both an eight-month downtrend line and the 200-day simple moving average (SMA) after the company announced the spinoff. Since then, profit-takers moved in, leading to a retracement back to the initial breakout point, which now becomes a crucial support area.

Active traders who take a long position here should look for a move back up to major resistance at $151.50 while managing risk with a stop-loss order placed somewhere below the blue downtrend line.

IBM Price Target Raised to $140 at Morgan Stanley, $180 in Best Case Scenario

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy L. Huberty raised her price target on IBM to $140 from $128, assigning an “Equal-weight” rating to the stock and said the world’s largest computer firm is making bolder moves by reducing dependency on legacy businesses and accelerating investment but there is still work to do.

American multinational technology company announced the tax-free spin-off of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Managed Infrastructure Services represents the majority of GTS, excluding the IBM Public Cloud and Technical Support Services businesses. The deal will create NewCo, a managed infrastructure services company with $19B TTM revenue that will focus on IT infrastructure modernization.

“Our SOTP reflects 15% upside, but we are cautious about recognizing this near-term. Without full transparency into the balance sheet and cost breakouts, we ran an initial SOTP based on EV/Sales to provide a preliminary view that points to $151/share valuation. We value each of IBM’s sub-segments separately based on a range of industry peers. Our analysis also credits IBM with unlocking an incremental $2.5B of revenue that was previously recorded in internal transactions, adding $5/share to valuation,” added Huberty, who also gave a price target of $180 in a best-case scenario.

“This aligns with a disclosure from the conference call for $19B NewCo revenue and $59B RemainCo revenue over the last 12 months, totalling $78B compared to a reported $75.5B. We include only operating cash and debt in our analysis given financing debt is supported by financing assets. Our updated PT of $140 (from $128 previously) blends our prior EV/FCF sales valuation and SOTP (50/50) to give partial credit to unlocking value in the SOTP given the spin announcement and increased focus on portfolio optimization.”

IBM’s shares rose 0.16% higher at $131.49 in pre-market trading on Friday; however, the stock is down about 2% so far this year.

Several other equity analysts have also updated their stock outlook. Independent Research raised their target price to $135.00 from $131.00 but rated hold; Credit Suisse upped their stock price forecast to $161 from $155. Citigroup boosted their target price on IBM to $140 from $120 and gave the company a “neutral” rating. JP Morgan Chase & Co. boosted their target price to $148 from $135 and gave the company a “neutral” rating.

Thirteen analysts forecast the average price in 12 months at $141.55 with a high forecast of $155.00 and a low forecast of $115.00. The average price target represents a 7.65% increase from the last price of $131.49. From those 13 equity analysts, five rated ‘Buy’, seven rated ‘Hold’ and one rated ‘Sell’, according to Tipranks.

“The spin of Infrastructure Services is a step in the right direction to drive sustainable revenue growth, but our conviction is reduced due to cautious results from our AlphaWise CIO surveys pointing to Services and AI most at risk of spending cuts and lower spending intentions with IBM following the Red Hat deal,” Morgan Stanley’s Huberty said.

“Near-term, we expect greater recurring revenue to pressure performance versus peers as IT spending rebounds off recent lows. Despite valuation below Services and Software peers, near-term macro factors and lack of conviction around IBM’s ability to stabilize revenue in the medium to long-term keep us Equal-weight.”

Upside risks: 1) Short-lived recession followed by pent up demand. 2) More material divestitures or M&A to accelerate growth. 3) IT spend upside, esp. Cloud & Cognitive, tied to Data Era projects. 4) Faster execution & upside on RHT synergies – highlighted by Morgan Stanley.

Downside risks: 1) Slowing GDP & IT spend drive sustained revenue declines. 2) Failure to monetize investments. 3) aaS growth stalls as mgmt focuses on margins. 4) Accelerated cloud cannibalization in core markets.

IBM Hits 4-Month High After Spin-off News

Dow component and perennial laggard International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) rallied to a 4-month high on Thursday after announcing it would accelerate its hybrid cloud growth strategy and spin off the rapidly-growing managed infrastructure services unit. The company also issued in-line Q3 2020 guidance, expecting to earn $2.58 per-share on $17.56 billion in revenue, with both metrics at or near consensus estimates.

IBM To Create Two Separate Entities

IBM will separate the Managed Infrastructure Services unit of its Global Technology Services division into a new public company, creating two separate entities, each with “strategic focus and flexibility to drive client and shareholder value”. The transaction will be executed as a tax-free spin-off to shareholders that’s expected to close by the end of 2021. The company said the long lead time is needed to meet SEC requirements, obtain tax guidance, and get final approval from the Board of Directors.

The company has suffered from slow growth and dull management since posting an all-time high in 2013 and has been one of the Dow’s worst performers since that time. The acquisition of Red Hat in October 2018 promised to accelerate the limp growth trajectory but chronic lethargy in the board room and executive chambers undermined bullish sentiment, triggering renewed selling pressure that dumped the stock to a 10-year low in March 2020.

Wall Street And Technical Outlook

Apathy best describes Wall Street consensus but that could change after today’s announcement. It’s now rated as a ‘Moderate Buy’, based upon 5 ‘Buy’, 6 ‘Hold’, and just one ‘Sell’ recommendation. Price targets currently range from a low of $115 to a street-high $155 while the stock is trading $7 below the $141 median target in Thursday’s U.S. session. Higher targets are likely but the deal isn’t expected to close for 15 months, potentially slowing the upgrade process.

IBM confirmed a breakdown through the 1999 high in the upper 130s during the first quarter selloff, establishing tough resistance in that price zone. The 50- and 200-month moving averages are narrowly-aligned at the same level, highlighting a formidable barrier that could restrict price action well into 2021. Even so, the news could generate sustained accumulation, rebuilding institutional support that abandoned this old school tech behemoth in the last decade.