Week of October 19: COVID-19 Corporate Event Impact Report

COVID-19 Corporate Event Impact Report

Week of October 19, 2020

Events To Watch For This Week  

  • Earnings season is underway with several big name firms delaying Q3 reports.
  • ​​​​Conference and analyst days: companies continue to adjust operations amid the new normal – emerging trends have created winners and losers.
  • With working from home increasing, major technology and online retail could stand to benefit once more as we approach the holiday season.

Earnings Date Revisions & Outliers

Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) issued a press release on September 30 stating it would release Q3 2020 results on October 26 after the bell. However, the firm recently issued a subsequent press release rescheduling the earnings date to October 29 after market. The Z-score (defined below) is not exceptionally high at 1.48, however Google is the 4th largest US company by market cap, so this is a stock many portfolio managers hold. It is also a popular options play around earnings. Money managers will want to keep GOOGL on their radars are possible unusual news during the announcement and conference call.​​​​​

Wall Street Horizon Z-score: statistical measurement of how an earnings date (confirmed or revised) compares to the reporting company's 5-year trend for the same quarter. This metric is included in our DateBreaks product, learn more.

Ford (F) rings some bells for us, too. The US automaker is struggling amid the pandemic as workers have been unable to hit the assembly lines to produce new vehicles. Last week’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) data shows that pre-owned car prices are skyrocketing. Citizens around the world are hesitant to use public transportation while there is a lack of new cars being produced. The major car manufactures need to weather the COVID-19 storm; a new car buying boom could likely take place when the pandemic eases, and workers are able to return. 

Back to the data – Ford issued a statement moving the earnings date from October 27 to October 28. The reconfirmation date produced a Z-score of 1.43 using our historical data analysis. Could more dour news be on the horizon for Ford? Investors may soon find out.

Manchester United (MANU) stock has struggled recently as Coronavirus outbreaks have hit sports teams worldwide over the last two months. Last week, it was reported that Cristiano Ronaldo, a star for the Italian club Juventus and the Portugal national team, tested positive for COVID. Shares of publicly-traded sports franchises dropped reinforcing that there is a high degree of pessimism in the sports world. 

MANU released earnings much later than expected, see the details below:

  • ​​​​​​Wall Street Horizon projected an earnings date of September 22, based on historical earnings data.
  • MANU updated their earnings date twice, ultimately pushing the release to October 21.
  • This unusual earnings date for MANU resulted in a massive 5.82 Z-score.
  • The earnings release crossed the October 16 options expiration - a critical change to note for options traders.​​​

Virtual Conference and Analyst Days

As earnings season heats up, virtual conferences are taking place ahead of the holiday season. Gap Inc. (GPS) holds its Virtual Investor Day 2020 on Thursday. The US clothing and apparel retailer may provide insight into the state of the consumer amid the new normal of high online transaction volume and limited in-store sales. GPS shares have rallied sharply in the last several months despite the tough economic environment. GPS was under $6 per share earlier this year, but the stock trended higher to near $20 earlier this month. The virtual investor meeting this week could provide clues on how retail can thrive in this economic environment. 

As retail has its winner and losers in the “k-shaped” recovery, online data platforms have generally thrived. Splunk (SPLK), the self-proclaimed provider of the Data-To-Everything Platform, holds its Virtual Investor & Analyst Session at .conf20. At the event on Wednesday, several executives will update stakeholders as to the state of the data and technology industry. Sessions for the Americas region and Europe/Asia-Pac are available.

Wall Street Horizon tracks all the critical analyst and investor days for clients. These events often reveal emerging trends that firms and executives are pouncing on. For struggling companies, the conferences offer insight into new information that could also be negative for share prices. Traders need to know when these notable corporate events take place to stay up-to-speed with today’s fast-paced market.
Schools Re-Adjust Plans Due to COVID-19 Outbreaks

Schools around the world are coping with rising COVID-19 cases as a second wave persists in Europe and grows in the US. Wall Street Horizon data tracking major financial cities reveals that 73% of students are engaged in online learning, 7% are exclusively attending classes in-person, and 20% are learning via hybrid. Earlier this semester, more than a third of students were learning via the traditional route, but rising COVID-19 cases in the US put a halt to many district plans. Internationally, there is a heavier emphasis on in-person learning with cities like Frankfurt, London, Shanghai, and Tokyo still conducting classes in a group setting. 

With concerning COVID-19 new daily case count trends and hospitalizations in the US and parts of Europe, further lockdowns could result in more restrictive learning measures to thwart off the virus. More learning from home means more working from home for busy parents. More “WFH” translates into potentially less economic activity – particularly for those businesses that depend on face-to-face transactions. Big technology and online retail could stand to benefit once more as we approach the holiday season. Smaller brick & mortar enterprises may continue to struggle, particularly if there is a significant delay in new stimulus legislation.

School Learning Plan Updates

  • Atlanta - Plan to reopen elementary schools on 11/19
  • Boston - Select groups of students starting in-person on 11/26
  • Charlotte - Due to high infection numbers, delaying the return of students in-person
  • Houston - Pre-K students are back in-person, the next group to transition will be K-5 starting on 11/2
  • Washington, DC - In-person begins 10/19