Consumer spending is in focus on Thursday, following optimistic statements from United Parcel Service Inc. and Mastercard Inc. in the face of macroeconomic uncertainty. But the real test comes after the bell when giant Amazon.com Inc. reports.
UPS, + 5.57%
Executives said the company was more productive this year during the holiday season high season, and the industry giant continues to benefit from investments in automation. Despite some geopolitical hurdles, "e-commerce is offering all kinds of opportunities," said CEO David Abney. The company's latest initiative in front of the consumer is a partnership with Shop Runner, through which members of UPS's My Choice program will be eligible for two-day transportation through the service.
BAD, + 3.99%
admitted "recent declines in consumer confidence" in several European countries, but the company has advanced, recording an acceleration in volume growth in dollars. The company took a more optimistic tone than Visa Inc., which shocked investors with their prospects the previous afternoon.
But the final report comes after the bell: Amazon
AMZN, + 3.82%
had an uneven spot to meet revenue expectations for the holiday quarter and will try to break that pattern.
Other notable reports
• If current earnings persist, General Electric Co.
GE, + 14.29%
the stock will register its biggest increase in a single day in more than a decade. The issues that helped was the strong performance of the company's aviation and renewable energy business, which helped offset an overall loss in profits.
• Marlboro brand stock losses are not being weighed on Altria Group Inc.
MO, + 2.41%
shares, which are until Thursday, despite a mixed report.
• Things are not so sweet at Hershey Co.
HSY, + 0.04%
but the company says its acquisitions of the controlling companies of Pop Skinny and Pirate Booty are posting "a strong growth."
POLICE OFFICER, + 2.16%
Spending a little more on capital expenditures than some on Wall Street may have liked, according to Paul Sankey, an analyst at Mizuho, but the company's shares are rising on Thursday.
• Perhaps in one of its latest reports as an independent company, Celgene Corp.
saw strong growth in drugs that treat psoriasis and multiple myeloma. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
BMY, + 1.21%
announced plans to buy Celgene earlier this month.
• Aerospace companies have given mixed signals in recent days, and the latest to do so is Northrop Grumman Corp.
NOC, + 0.98%
which issued a disappointing prediction.
• Charter Communications Inc.
CHTR, + 14.81%
plans to reduce its capital spending, and MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett said the company "could legitimately be seen as a growth story again."
s + 2.22%
It performed the worst of the wireless group in terms of net pay-phone additions during the holiday quarter, said Walt Piecyk of BTIG, which dispensed 26,000 customers. But AT & T Inc.
T + 1.70%
was weaker in the year.
Arriving after the bell
Look for updates on Amazon's advertising business during the earnings call of the e-commerce giants. Amazon has quietly built an ad center, increasing hiring and improving its technology, according to Susquehanna's Shyam Patil. These improvements can generate "significant growth," especially in terms of sponsored products, he said.
Also on the agenda are the cyber security names Proofpoint Inc.
PFPT, + 1.54%
and Symantec Corp.
SYMC, + 0.10%
Proofpoint has been adjusting its sales practices to account for its growing scale, including placing more emphasis on international sales. Stay alert to the impacts of these changes, which Needham's Alex Henderson calls the "right move" in the long run, even if they impact operating margins.