Technology stocks for the most part have had a good run of quarterly reports, with Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Twitter, Inc. (TWTR) and Texas Instruments Incorporated (TXN) providing some upside surprises. It has not been a perfect string of tech results, as Intel Corporation (INTC) and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) delivered lackluster results, but the overall theme has been great for tech.
Alphabet's results will be weighed down on the European Union's $1.7 billion antitrust fine that the company will take completely this quarter. Expectations are for revenues to post a 20% year-over-year increase to $37.33 billion, while earnings per share (EPS) may fall 21% to $10.56. Traders may be expecting Alphabet to continue to post strong cloud growth, mirroring the robust cloud results seen from Microsoft and Amazon's quarterly reports.
Apple's fiscal second quarter results are expected to see the recent trend of softness continue. Apple's Jan. 2 profit warning and guidance cut cemented the last leg lower in tech stocks. The company warned that iPhone sales will drop off sharply. Expectations are for EPS to fall 13.2% to $2.37, while revenues are expected to drop 5.9% to $57.53 billion.
With soft numbers heavily priced in, many investors will focus on updates from the March 25 event that unveiled different revenue possibilities that will alleviate falling decreasing iPhone demand. The Apple credit card alliance with The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) and new arcade subscription service will likely be longer-term bullish catalysts. Apple services revenue will be watched closely to see if it can continue the recent run of 20% growth.
Technology stocks on the S&P 500 have dominated trade this year with a 26.1% gain, and if Alphabet and Apple continue the trend of strong FAANG earnings results, we could see technology stocks continue to outperform.
This week, the Nasdaq Composite has made a bullish move to fresh record highs, and if tech earnings and trade deal optimism between China and the U.S. are not derailed, we could see another leg higher next week. Nasdaq futures could see some strong resistance at the 8,000 level.
U.S. equities continue to be supported by the Federal Reserve, and expectations remain firmly in place that the Fed will be on hold for the rest of the year. The surprising robust U.S. economic growth in the first quarter was mainly driven by an increase in trade and inventories. However, the underlying demand looks soft, and when you add in the Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) soft print at 1.3%, well below the Fed’s target of 2.0%, markets raised bets that the next Fed move will be a cut.
Most of the recent stock market rally has been given to traders by the Fed, and it appears that the Fed will need to see strong data throughout the summer before it changes its policy stance.