(Bloomberg) -- The hawkish tone reiterated by Fed officials this week sent jitters into stocks and raised market volatility as investors confront dimming prospects over the strength of consumer demand for products ranging from used cars to personal technology going into the holiday season. With just two weeks before major US bank earnings kick off again, market watchers will get a sense of how the persistent unfavorable macroeconomic conditions play out in the earnings reports of home equipment and materials companies, apparel and beverage makers next week.
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Earnings highlights to look for next week:
Monday: No major earnings expected.
Tuesday: Acuity Brands (AYI US) is due before the bell. Analysts expect the lighting equipment maker to deliver an EPS beat for fiscal 4Q due to elevated backlog levels, although consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg imply that adjusted earnings and revenue growth have slowed to single digits for the first time in more than a year. Declining activity in the residential housing market, already threatened by 15-year high mortgage rates and a recession, will further slow gains in the coming year, but Bloomberg Intelligence said support may come from government spending on large projects. The outlook for margins will be an area of focus as analysts gauge the benefit of price increases amid the backdrop of continued inflation and waning business confidence. Margin growth for the reporting period may already be flat as speedy customer service and cost inflation offset operating leverage and positive pricing, BI noted.
Wednesday: RPM International (RPM US) will report its results before the market opens. Investors may look for more color on the paint and coating company’s recently announced “Margin Achievement Plan” before its Oct. 7 investor day. The plan calls for $8.5 billion in annual revenue, a 42% gross margin and a 16% adjusted EBIT margin by May 2025. “Without full details, it is tough to determine how much of the improvement is linked with cost reductions, further pricing, or any assumed moderation in raw materials,” UBS analyst Joshua Spector wrote. Despite the limited visibility, the market responded positively to the announcement as shares rallied. Similar to Acuity, whose growth momentum depends on home-related demand, RPM’s longer-term outlook comes into question as analysts are concerned about possible recessionary conditions in the US and housing markets.
Thursday: Levi Strauss (LEVI US) will release its results after the bell. Although the denim manufacturer is expected to provide a positive outlook for the upcoming quarter and maintain its 2022 guidance, there is little management can likely say to calm investors’ concerns about the macroeconomic and foreign-exchange environment, UBS analysts said. The market may also focus on commentary about winter and spring wholesale orders due to concerns about potential cancellations by major US retail partners like Walmart and Target, which have had elevated inventory levels, UBS said. Levi’s value brands sold by the retailers flagged last quarter as lower-income shoppers were hit by higher costs.
- ESG in Focus: Levi’s manufacturing practices have come under increasing scrutiny from Remake, a global advocacy group spearheading a campaign to get the denim brand to sign the International Accord that aims to improve working conditions in Bangladeshi garment factories. Remake’s push comes amid the release of Levi’s 2021 Sustainability Report, which shows the company’s assessments of its manufacturers and fabric mills uncovered 5,940 total workplace violations in 2021 versus 519 in the prior year, including 53 “zero tolerance” infractions, which cover any “serious breach” of the Supplier Code of Conduct that may impact human rights and safety, resulting in the termination of two supplier relationships. Travel restrictions limiting factory visits, along with the financial pressures of the pandemic, are a likely cause of the increase in infractions, according the Levi’s report. While H&M, Inditex and PVH have already signed the agreement, Levi’s is not the only American company refusing to join, with retail giant Walmart and others also forgoing the alliance.
- ESG in Focus: Constellation Brands (STZ US), which will report 2Q results before market, has been contending with persistent droughts in the northern regions of Mexico as risks from water shortages continue to plague breweries in the country. Despite the support of the Mexican government, the company has already relocated one plant to Veracruz following the rejection of a brewery in the northern city of Mexicali, which resulted in a $660 million impairment in the first quarter. The situation in Mexico, the world’s largest beer distributor, is growing increasingly desperate, with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador calling on beverage companies to halt production in the afflicted area and allocate water for domestic consumption. Despite the real risk posed to the Constellation’s Navva and Obregon breweries, which are responsible for the production of its Corona and Modelo brands, analysts are still calling for continued momentum in the beer segment, forecasting segment sales growing by about 8% to a record $2 billion in the second quarter.
Friday: Tilray Brands (TLRY US) is expected to report mixed results before the bell. Combined net sales from adult-use and medical cannabis -- accounting for about a third of total revenue -- may decline by about 20%, BI said, citing price competition and adverse currency exchange. Adjusted Ebitda, meanwhile, may be supported by its expanding beverage and wellness segments, according to BI analyst Kenneth Shea, who expects further growth through more acquisitions of US craft beer producers and expansion in international medical-cannabis markets. Piper Sandler analysts, on the other hand, offer a more pessimistic view on its momentum, reducing FY23 estimates on hemp seed inflation, lower sequential cannabis yields and softer than expected beer sales.
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