Stocks rose in a shortened trading week last week. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) gained over 1% and are sitting at all-time highs as we begin the second quarter of 2021.
Several popular companies will announce earnings results over the next few days. That list includes Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), Levi Strauss (NYSE:LEVI), and Simply Good Foods (NASDAQ:SMPL), whose reports we’ll preview.
1. Constellation Brands’ outlook
Constellation Brands will close out its fiscal year with a fourth-quarter earnings report on Thursday, and investors are hoping to hear good news from the alcoholic-beverage giant. Its last quarterly update showed surprisingly strong sales growth as robust home beer consumption offset slumping demand at bars and restaurants. Along with Boston Beer, Constellation Brands accounted for most of the industry’s growth in 2020.
This week’s report should contain more evidence of strong growth in imported beer brands like Modelo and Pacifico, along with modest success in the company’s Corona hard-seltzer launch that competes directly with Boston Beer’s Truly franchise. Sales gains will slow compared with last quarter because of shipping and inventory shifts, but Constellation Brands’ consumption metric should still be solidly positive.
Yet the stock’s movement might depend on the fiscal 2022 outlook that CEO Bill Newlands and his team issue on Thursday. That forecast might include optimism for the beer division and the newly transformed wine and spirits segment, along with some potentially big opportunities in the recreational-marijuana space.
2. Simply Good Foods’ organic sales
Simply Good Foods’ stock has outperformed the market’s rally since the COVID-19 lows, which sets a high bar for its Wednesday second-quarter earnings report. Heading into the announcement, most investors are expecting the health-focused food and snack specialist to post strong growth, with sales likely to land at around $230 million.
Management’s recent acquisition of the Quest Nutrition franchise might add noise to that figure, but CEO Joseph Scalzo and his team should detail their organic sales estimate this week, too. Growth by that metric was in the mid-single digits, the company said in early January.
For the stock to keep rallying deeper into 2021, Simply Good Foods will need to show steady demand in its Atkins and Quest brands that continues even as the pandemic threat declines. And investors are hoping that profitability will improve thanks to the higher sales base. Look for management to issue more-detailed guidance on both these figures as part of Wednesday’s earnings report.
3. Levi Strauss’ 2021 forecast
Jeanswear specialist Levi Strauss will announce its fiscal first-quarter results on Thursday afternoon. The stock jumped in the past year, but many investors see an opportunity for even bigger gains ahead.
That bullish thesis depends on the company’s further differentiating its small but quickly growing e-commerce platform. Levi Strauss is also aiming to diversify into complementary categories outside its core denim focus. Progress in these two areas might remove some of the sting from weak sales, which are expected to fall by 17% this quarter compared with last quarter’s 12% slump.
The stock’s price rally in recent months means investors will be looking for management to issue a positive outlook for 2021 following last year’s 23% sales decline. Watch executives’ inventory update for a clue on which way demand and pricing trends are heading after a tough holiday season.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.