By Carly Forster
It’s a short week on Wall Street, but investors are still anticipating the last of fourth quarter and year end earnings. What should investors watch for?
Virgin America (NASDAQ:VA):
Virgin America is set to announce is fourth quarter and full year 2014 earnings results on Wednesday, February 18th before the market opens. The company is expected to post $0.82 earnings per share. This will be the first earnings report Virgin America will release following its IPO on November 14, 2014.
Starting at $23 a share, Virgin America’s stock soared after its IPO, increasing as much as 50% and raising more than $305 million. People were attracted to the fact that it’s an airline stock and that there’s a scarcity factor common with IPOs. Investors also liked how Virgin America markets itself as a hip airline. Its colorful website is easy to navigate and boasts “mood-lit cabins,” WiFi, and “a host of fun” on flights.
However, Virgin America recently gave an investor update on its Q4 numbers which were mixed. Virgin America expects fuel costs of $2.87 per gallon in the fourth quarter, substantially higher than the $2.62 recorded by Delta Air Lines. In addition, Virgin America has forecast the cost per gallon of fuel will be $2.76 in Q1 and $2.48 in Q2, while Delta has predicted that its Q1 fuel costs will be roughly $2.50 a gallon.
Priceline is scheduled to announce its fourth quarter 2014 earnings on Thursday, February 19th before the market opens. The company is expected to post earnings of $9.40 to $10.10 a share, up from $8.04 the same quarter a year prior. Analysts expect the company to post $1.8 billion in revenue, ahead of the company’s guidance of $1.75 billion. This analysts’ consensus estimate would mean an earnings increase of 13% and revenue growth of 16.6% on a year-over-year basis.
Priceline has a history of beating its own guidance and analysts’ estimates, having done so for 15 straight quarters in a row. This only proves just how strong the company’s operations are. However, like many other companies, investors fear Priceline will face strong headwinds from the strengthening dollar which has gained over 14% against the Euro in 2014.
With that said, international gross bookings have consistently been the main driver of Priceline’s revenue, with most of it coming from the company’s subsidiary, booking.com, in Europe. Investors are hoping the stronger dollar will not take too much of a toll on Priceline’s overall earnings.
Wal-Mart is scheduled to announce its fourth quarter fiscal year 2015 earnings results on Thursday, February 19th before the market opens. The company is expected to post earnings of $1.54 a share, down from $1.60 a share the same quarter a year ago.
During Black Friday, Wal-Mart granted large discounts on various items. In addition to this, Wal-Mart has implemented new 24/7 operations throughout various stores in the United States. The company is anticipating that both of these factors will boost its earnings for the fourth quarter.
Wal-Mart is also getting its foot in the e-commerce game in an effort to expand its stores online domestically and in international markets.
The company also has plans to open 5,000 new stores in small neighborhoods in order to cater to customers with a smaller income and to raise revenues from repeated purchases of grocery items with shorter consumption periods.
In other Wal-Mart news, the company just announced that by next January it will have a total of 396 locations in Canada, just on the heels of Target Canada’s exit.