Stock Market Futures Edge Lower Ahead Of January Retail Sales Data And Fed Minutes
U.S. stock futures are retreating slightly in early morning trading on Wednesday. Regardless, investors will likely be looking ahead at another crucial piece of economic data today. This would be the U.S. Census Bureau’s retail sales readings for January. For now, consensus economist estimates are pointing towards a year-over-year rise of 2%. This would be a notable increase from December’s drop of 1.9%. All in all, retail sales would help to provide a clearer picture regarding the current state of the economy. Should things turn out for the better, it could, in theory, help to temper concerns over inflation among other market headwinds.
Explaining this in detail is Matthew Miskin, co-chief investment strategist over at John Hancock (NYSE: JHI) Investment Management. He posits, “At the moment, the market is twisting and turning on headlines, and we wouldn’t overplay it either way. There’s still a lot of uncertainty around this geopolitical risk.” Miskin continues, “We’re looking at the earnings picture — still pretty good. Economic data is okay. But right now we’re kind of stuck in this stagflation-type environment, where the economic data is kind of stagnating and yet inflationary pressures are still building.” Aside from all this, there are plenty of earnings to consider in the stock market today as well. As of 6:52 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading lower by 0.12%, 0.10%, and 0.04% respectively.
Upstart Gains On Record Profits, Soaring Growth, And $400 Million Share Buyback Plans
Upstart (NASDAQ: UPST) appears to be turning heads in the stock market now. As you can imagine during this earnings season, this is thanks to its latest quarterly update. Diving in, the consumer lending firm posted solid figures across the board. It raked in a total revenue of $305 million for the quarter, topping forecasts of $262.9 million. Additionally, Upstart posted earnings of $0.89 per share, crushing Wall Street estimates of $0.51. In terms of year-over-year comparisons, Upstart reported gains of 252% for total revenue and over 1,500% for net income. Following this blowout quarter, UPST stock is currently trading higher by 26% in pre-market hours today.
According to CEO Dave Girouard, all this marks an exceptional end to Upstart’s breakout year of 2021. Namely, the CEO cites consumer trends placing its artificial intelligence (AI) lending offerings in the forefront. The likes of which are responsible for “kicking off the most impactful transformation of credit in decades,” in his own words. Moreover, Girouard also adds, “But AI lending isn’t a one-category phenomenon. I’m also happy to report that, with help from an epic push by our team in the last few weeks of the year, auto loan originations on our platform are now ramping quickly and will provide growth opportunities to Upstart for years to come.”
Not to mention, the company is also expecting its momentum to persist moving forward. For the current quarter, Upstart is guiding for revenue of between $295 million to $305 million. This would top consensus predictions of $258.3 million. That’s not all, Upstart also authorized a share repurchase program of up to $400 million in common stock. Safe to say, with Upstart seemingly firing on all cylinders now, investors are eyeing UPST stock.
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Airbnb Seeing Clear Blue Skies After Posting Massive Jump In Gross Booking Value
Another name on the rise in the stock market now would be Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB). Similar to our earlier piece of news, Airbnb is currently riding the momentum from a solid set of quarterly earnings figures. In detail, the vacation home rental goliath posted an earnings per share of $0.08 on revenue of $1.53 billion. Notably, this handily beats Wall Street’s forecasts of $0.03 and $1.46 billion respectively. On top of that, the company also reported that 73.4 million nights and experiences were booked on its platform throughout the quarter. While this is shy of consensus estimates of 74.96 million, it marks a notable 59% year-over-year increase.
For the most part, it seems that Airbnb is particularly benefitting from the return to travel. With the overall improvement in pandemic conditions compared to the same quarter a year ago, this is apparent. Overall, the company notes that it is coming out of another record quarter. Not only that, but Airbnb also highlights that 2021 was the best year in its history as a company as well. All of this is despite the ongoing pandemic. In fact, its core metrics such as gross nights booked, long-term trips, and host community are either recovering to or surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
Commenting on its performance for the quarter is CEO Brian Chesky. He highlights, “We are amidst the biggest change to travel since the advent of commercial flying. Airbnb’s adaptable model and relentless innovation are making it possible for us to grow this new category of travel we created.” Looking forward, Airbnb appears to be confident as well. For the first quarter of 2022, the company is eyeing revenue between $1.41 billion and $1.48 billion. This would mark a noticeable lead over expectations of $1.24 billion from Wall Street.
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Roblox Slides After Missing Wall Street Forecasts Across The Board
On the flip side, Roblox (NYSE: RBLX) seems to be having a rough time this earnings season. Accordingly, this would be a result of its latest quarterly financial misses. Now, Roblox saw a loss per share of $0.25 on revenue of $770 million. For reference, this is in comparison to consensus expectations of a $0.13 loss per share and $772 million in revenue. Sure, the company’s results may seem disappointing compared to current estimates. However, compared to the same quarter last year, Roblox is seeing steady growth. Its revenue is up by 83% year-over-year while average daily active users (DAUs) are up by 33%. Regarding DAUs, there are now 49.5 million players logging on to Roblox daily, according to the company’s estimates.
In the larger scheme of things, some would argue that the current sell-off in RBLX stock could be overplayed. After all, its year-over-year improvements are commendable. Adding to all that, the company is actively growing its version of the metaverse. This is evident from its ongoing partnerships with the NFL and Nike (NYSE: NKE) among others. Furthermore, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) analyst Omar Dessouky recently hailed Roblox as well. He notes that Roblox is “concretely demonstrating” what the metaverse means to consumers, developers, and merchants alike. Dessouky currently has a Buy rating and a price target of $84 on RBLX stock. With all this in mind, investors may be considering RBLX stock amidst its current weakness.
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Nvidia Earnings On Tap After Today’s Market Close
For earnings due today, Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) is among the heavy hitters to look out for. This would especially be the case as the semiconductor industry has and continues to kick into high gear amidst global shortages. In fact, the Semiconductor Industry Association’s (SIA) latest chip sales readings for 2021 are in. According to the SIA, global semiconductor sales for 2021 was a whopping $555.9 billion, up 26.2% year-over-year. Aside from this, there are also numerous mentions of acquisitions in the industry this week as well.
Nevertheless, the focus for today would be what Nvidia has to report. As it stands, Wall Street expects the company to post earnings of $1.22 per share on revenue of $7.4 billion. Should this be the case, it would translate to massive year-over-year gains of 53% and 48% respectively. Among the core metrics to know would be its data center and gaming revenue divisions. Both of which analysts are expecting to improve significantly this quarter. Because of all this, I could see NVDA stock gaining attention in the stock market now.
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