AIMSTAR FINANCIAL FORECAST – February 5, 2024

Your Weekly Financial Market Recap and Earnings Preview.

PUBLISHED Mon, Feb 05, 2024, 12:35 PM EST

On Friday, February 2nd, the Wall Street stock market closed higher, with the S&P 500 index reaching a new high. Strong quarterly reports from Meta and Amazon, along with positive job data, boosted market sentiment and confidence in the economy. Over the past week, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index rose by 1.4%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose by 1.1%, marking its fourth consecutive week of gains.

Federal Reserve Chairman Powell made somewhat hawkish remarks in an interview last weekend, suggesting that the Fed might wait until March to consider rate cuts and projecting three rate cuts this year, which is below market expectations. Powell also emphasized that the Fed wants to observe more economic data to ensure that inflation remains stable at the 2% target. He stressed that the risk of acting too early is that it might disrupt the current efforts to combat inflation, as the positive data over the past six months may not accurately reflect inflation trends.

Earnings season is still at its peak, and major companies about to release their results this week include Disney, Caterpillar, McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Eli Lilly, Ford, and PayPal. Additionally, Palantir, Snap, Pinterest, Uber, ELF Beauty, Arm Holdings, and Alibaba will also announce their earnings.

McDonald’s Earnings Forecast

McDonald’s performance this week is highly anticipated, with the market expecting it to potentially reach new highs. Due to the positive trends in consumer demand, McDonald’s performance is expected to exceed expectations. McDonald’s plans to release its fourth-quarter earnings tomorrow morning. The options market anticipates a potential 3% price fluctuation after McDonald’s announces its earnings. When it released its previous quarter’s earnings at the end of October, its stock price rose by 2.5%. Meanwhile, with rising product prices, unique marketing campaigns, and a successful digital loyalty program, McDonald’s revenue is expected to grow by 8.8% year-over-year, reaching $6.45 billion.

In the current economic environment, with consumers increasing their visits to McDonald’s, third-quarter same-store sales in the United States are expected to exceed expectations. Many Americans have reduced spending at full-service restaurants in response to economic slowdown and inflation, turning to McDonald’s, especially for its Big Mac and McChicken demand.

Looking ahead, as McDonald’s maintains its strong growth momentum in an uncertain macro environment, its earnings and revenue guidance for this quarter are expected to be quite optimistic. McDonald’s not only has a strong earnings outlook and an attractive valuation but also maintains a strong financial position, noteworthy for its 48 consecutive years of dividend increases.

Caution: PayPal

Investors should exercise caution regarding PayPal, as analysts expect the company to release disappointing earnings. PayPal plans to announce its earnings on Wednesday. Due to its continued loss of market share in the field of e-commerce payments, performance may be weak. While earnings and revenue for PayPal are expected to increase compared to the same period last year, given the challenging operating environment, the company’s performance outlook for the new fiscal year may be relatively conservative.

Considering the slowdown in consumer spending and e-commerce growth trends, as well as competition from companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Block in the mobile payment processing sector, PayPal has faced significant pressure over the past year. On the last Friday, PayPal’s stock closed at $62.42, with a market cap of $67.3 billion. Over the past 12 months, its stock price has fallen by 27%, significantly lagging behind the overall market performance during the same period.

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