Microsoft Cloud Strength Drives First Quarter Results

Microsoft issued a press release on its 2020 first quarter results after the markets closed with the following bullet points.

  • Revenue was $33.1 billion and increased 14%
  • Operating income was $12.7 billion and increased 27%
  • Net income was $10.7 billion and increased 21%
  • Diluted earnings per share was $1.38 and increased 21%

The figures below summarise the sales, profits and margins by each business segment.


Despite increasing sales and expanding margins Microsoft continues to be extravagantly priced. Better choices in the space might be IBM, Oracle and Cisco.

Media coverage

Reuters – Microsoft forecasts cloud sales above expectations

Reuters – Microsoft’s cloud business slows, casts shadow over results

Bloomberg – Microsoft Rallies as Results Beat ‘Virtually Every Metric’

Bloomberg – Microsoft Sales, Profit Top Estimates on Cloud; Azure Slows

P&G raises 2020 guidance amidst shining beauty and trimmed grooming

Procter & Gamble [$PG] issued a press release on its first quarter results prior to the market opening. The company raised its full year guidance. The share price jumped by 2.6% from $119.08 to a 52 week high of $122.18.


All segments except grooming displayed positive organic sales growth. The main contributors to top and bottom line growth is the beauty segment along with the fabric & home care segment.


P&G has in 12 months gone up by more than 50% through expansion of multiples. As a consequence it is anything but cheap at current levels irrespective of having one of the best operating margins and currently displaying one of the best growth rates in the industry.

Media coverage

Reuters – P&G raises full-year forecast after beauty, healthcare brands drive profit beat

Bloomberg – P&G Gains After Posting Strong Sales Growth, Raising Outlook

Bank OZK misses revenue and earnings estimates

Bank OZK [$OZK] issued a press release after the closing bell on its quarterly results accompanied by the following comment from the CEO George Gleason.

“We are very pleased to have once again delivered financial metrics among the best in the industry for the quarter just ended.  We continue to maintain our focus on our strong credit culture and consistent discipline, which are paramount in this interest rate and competitive environment.  Our excellent team of bankers have us well positioned for continued success as we remain focused on delivering long-term value for our shareholders.”

Total interest income was down QoQ, which is unusual for Bank OZK. As a consequence the net interest income before provision for loan losses was also down QoQ and YoY.

The stock price traded lower in the after hours. Is it then time to sell Bank OZK given the recent small kinks in the armour such as the provision for loan losses in the third quarter of 2018 and the reduced net interest income in the current third quarter of 2019? Probably not.

The bank is a dwarf in terms of assets compared to other regional banks that are members of the S&P500.

But the bank has some of the best metrics in terms of key metrics such as return on assets (ROA), return on equity (ROE) and net profit margin.

And the bank has in the past grown revenue at a faster pace than other banks.

And the bank has one of the absolutely lowest efficiency ratios in the industry.

On the other hand the bank dilutes shareholders and it might be advisable, if the bank gradually shifts the free cash flow to buybacks instead of repeatedly hiking the dividend every quarter and by ever greater increments.

All taken together it’s still one of the best banks out there and it’s currently trading at a discount in terms of for example the price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple.

Netflix beats on profit but misses on number of new subscribers

Netflix issued a press release on its quarterly results after the closing bell.

In Q3, we grew to $5.2 billion in revenue, up 31% over the prior year, and operating income doubled to$1.0 billion. Paid net adds totaled 6.8m compared to our 7.0m forecast and prior year Q3 of 6.1m. As we’ve improved the variety, diversity and quality of our content slate, member engagement has grown, revenue has increased, and we’re able to further fund our content investment.


The number of memberships keeps increasing.

But the net addition of paid memberships is leveling off and so are the number of free trials.

Revenue has grown faster than the number of memberships, because the revenue per membership continues to go up for especially domestic streaming.

Profits are further boosted by the fact, that marketing expenses have mostly stayed flat. This has sent profit margins to all time highs.


The share price of Netflix has had an incredible 10 year stint. As has the revenue and profits. But the share price might possibly have gotten ahead of itself. The multiples are not low and the stock still appears grossly overpriced in absolute and relative terms.

Media coverage

Reuters – Netflix shares jump as subscribers grow ahead of Disney, Apple attack

Bloomberg – Netflix Restores Faith Just Ahead of Offensive by Disney, Apple

Bloomberg – Netflix Approaches Critical Test of Its Viability

New York Times – ‘Stranger Things’ Helps Netflix Increase Subscribers

CNBC – Netflix to competition: Welcome! Your success will be our success

Roche reports very strong sales growth in the first nine months of 2019 – outlook raised

Roche issued a press release on its nine month sales with the following headlines.

  • Group sales increase 10% at constant exchange rates and 9% in Swiss francs, due to new products
  • Pharmaceuticals Division sales up 12%, driven by high demand for recently launched medicines, mainly Ocrevus, Hemlibra, Tecentriq and Perjeta 
  • Diagnostics Division sales grow 4%, primarily due to its immunodiagnostic testing portfolio
  • Outlook raised again: Roche now expects sales to grow in the high-single digit range, at constant exchange rates, for 2019

Growth at Roche has recently accelerated due to many new product launches in the pharmaceuticals division.


Roche is the largest pharmaceutical company in Europe, whether measured by market capitalisation, revenue or operating income.

Roche has one of the best operating margins among the European pharmaceutical companies.

But yet it is trading at lower multiples than many of its peers despite having an impressive product portfolio and pipeline with lots of new molecular entities (NMEs) in it.

Roche appears attractively valued despite the launch of biosimilars by Amgen of Avastin® and Herceptin® due to the extensive pipeline; for example risdiplam and satralizumab. It is also worth noting that all of the ten best selling drugs are monoclonal antibodies (mABs), for which generic biosimilars are not easily introduced, which offers some moat.

Media coverage

Reuters – Roche lifts 2019 sales view again as Chinese demand soars

Bloomberg – Roche Boosts Outlook for Third Time as New Drugs Surge

J&J tops estimates

Johnson & Johnson [$JNJ] issued a press release before the market opened on its third quarter results with the following headlines:

  • Sales of $20.7 billion reflecting growth of 1.9%, operational growth of 3.2%* and adjusted operational growth of 5.2%*
  • EPS of $1.81 increased 25.7%; adjusted EPS of $2.12 increased 3.4%*
  • Company increasing Full Year Sales and EPS guidance due to strong performance

CEO Alex Gorsky issued the following statement:

“Our third-quarter results represent strong performance, driven by competitive underlying growth in Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, as well as continued optimization in our Consumer business. As we look ahead, we remain confident in the strength of our broad-based business model, which is fueled by our disciplined portfolio management, focus on transformational innovation and dedicated employees around the world who position us for success today and well into the future.”


The figures below summarise revenue, expenses, profits, margins and each segment. The revenue growth is driven by contact lenses (7.6%), interventional solutions (14.3%), beauty (8.1%) and the pharmaceutical segment and within it immunology (Stelara®, Tremfya®), neuroscience (Invega sustenna®) and oncology (Darzalex®, Imbruvica®).

Valuation and outlook

The share price of J&J has gone up in recent years, but the top line and bottom line have not quite followed suit. The company does not at all seem undervalued at current price levels despite the guidance being raised. Many lawsuits are looming and keeping the share price at check.

Media coverage

Nightly Business Report

2019Oct15 Reuters – Prescription drugs boost drives J&J forecasts higher, shares rise

2019Oct15 Bloomberg – Johnson & Johnson to `Grow Above Market’ in 2020, CFO Says

2019Oct15 Reuters – Missouri appeals court overturns $110 million Johnson & Johnson talc verdict

2019Oct15 Bloomberg – J&J Persuades Court to Throw Out $110 Million Talc Verdict

2019Oct15 Bloomberg – J&J Makes $4 Billion Opioid Offer as Distributors Seek Deal

2019Oct15 Bloomberg – J&J Says No Legal Reserves Needed Amid Wave of Lawsuits

2019Oct14 Bloomberg – J&J Faces 100,000 More Damage Claims After Taking $8 Billion Hit

2019Oct09 Reuters – Johnson & Johnson hit as jury awards “excessive” $8 bln in damages

2019Oct08 Reuters – Jury says J&J must pay $8 billion in case over male breast growth linked to Risperdal

2019Oct08 Bloomberg – J&J Unit Ordered to Pay $8 Billion Over Anti-Psychotic Drug

2019Oct07 Reuters – Oklahoma appeals size of $572 million award in J&J opioid case

UnitedHealth beats estimates and raises outlook

United Healthcare [$UNH] issued a press release on its quarterly results before the market opened with the following headlines:

  • Total Revenues of $60.4 Billion Grew by 7% or $3.8 Billion Year-over-Year
  • Operating Earnings Grew 9% to $5.0 Billion, Including Double-Digit Growth Rates in Each Optum Business
  • Net Earnings Per Share were $3.67, Adjusted Net Earnings Per Share were $3.88, Bringing Year-To-Date Growth to 17%
  • Cash Flows from Operations were $3.2 Billion in the Quarter, Bringing Year-To-Date Cash Flows from Operations to $12.3 Billion or 1.2x Net Income

The share price went from $220.59 to a closing price of $238.59 (+8.2%) following the earnings release and comments by the CEO David Wichmann and the CFO John Rex during the earnings call.

“Based on this year’s year-to-date performance, we have increased our outlook for full year 2019 adjusted earnings to a range of $14.90 to $15.00 per share.”

“Our strong year-to-date results lead us to raise our full year 2019 outlook for adjusted earnings to a range of $14.90 to $15.00 per share, at the mid-point an increase of $0.40 per share from the initial outlook we provided late last year.”


The figures below summarise the increasing revenue and operating income in each of the operating segments.

Sector comparison

UnitedHealth has the best margins in the industry, but the multiples are also higher as a consequence. The recent pullback provided an entry option at somewhat lower multiples, but the share price growth has mostly been fuelled by expansion of multiples in recent years.

Media coverage

Reuters – UnitedHealth sees 2020 profit above Street target; shares climb 8%

Bloomberg – Health Insurers Gain Most Since 2013 as Medical Cost Fears Ease

European earnings calendar

Three important indexes in Europe are the STOXX Europe 50 for Europe and the EURO STOXX 50 for the Eurozone and the S&P 350 Europe.

The EURO STOXX 50 Index, Europe’s leading blue-chip index for the Eurozone, provides a blue-chip representation of supersector leaders in the region.

The STOXX Europe 50 Index, Europe’s leading Blue-chip index, provides a representation of supersector leaders in Europe.

Below are the earnings dates for the components of the STOXX indices in a sortable table.

ASML Holding N.V.ASML.AS2019-10-16SemiconductorVeldhoven22125
Nestle S.A.NESN.SW2019-10-17Packaged FoodsVevey308000
SAP SESAP.DE2019-10-21SoftwareWalldorf98332
UBS Group AGUBSG.SW2019-10-22BanksZurich66922
Novartis AGNOVN.SW2019-10-22Drug ManufacturersBasel108000
ABB LtdABBN.SW2019-10-23Diversified IndustrialsZurich147000
Iberdrola, S.A.IBE.MC2019-10-23UtilitiesBilbao34210
BASF SEBAS.DE2019-10-24ChemicalsLudwigshafen118705
Daimler AGDAI.DE2019-10-24Auto ManufacturersStuttgart304065
Eni S.p.A.ENI.MI2019-10-24Oil & Gas IntegratedRome32011
AstraZeneca PLCAZN.L2019-10-24Drug ManufacturersCambridge64400
Nokia CorporationNOKIA.HE2019-10-24Communication EquipmentEspoo103083
AB InBev SA/NVABI.BR2019-10-25BeveragesLeuven175000
Philips N.V.PHIA.AS2019-10-28Diagnostics & ResearchAmsterdam77748
Orange S.A.ORA.PA2019-10-29TelecomParis135943
BP p.l.c.BP.L2019-10-29Oil & Gas IntegratedLondon69600
Fresenius SE & Co. KGaAFRE.DE2019-10-29Medical CareBad Homburg288459
TOTAL S.A.FP.PA2019-10-30Oil & Gas IntegratedParis104460
Banco Santander, S.A.SAN.MC2019-10-30BanksMadrid201804
Bayer AktiengesellschaftBAYN.DE2019-10-30Drug ManufacturersLeverkusen115498
GlaxoSmithKline plcGSK.L2019-10-30Drug ManufacturersBrentford95490
Airbus SEAIR.PA2019-10-30Aerospace & DefenseLeiden136343
Telefonica, S.A.TEF.MC2019-10-31TelecomMadrid118384
BBVA, S.A.BBVA.MC2019-10-31BanksBilbao126017
ING Groep N.V.INGA.AS2019-10-31BanksAmsterdam53000
BNP Paribas SABNP.PA2019-10-31BanksParis202000
SanofiSAN.PA2019-10-31Drug ManufacturersParis104226
Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A.ISP.MI2019-11-05BanksTurin90888
adidas AGADS.DE2019-11-06Footwear & AccessoriesHerzogenaurach56753
Ahold Delhaize N.V.AD.AS2019-11-06Grocery StoresZaandam372000
Societe Generale SAGLE.PA2019-11-06BanksParis149000
Deutsche Telekom AGDTE.DE2019-11-07TelecomBonn212762
Zurich Insurance Group AGZURN.SW2019-11-07InsuranceZurich54000
Munich ReMUV2.DE2019-11-07InsuranceMunich39869
Siemens AktiengesellschaftSIE.DE2019-11-07Diversified IndustrialsMunich384000
Amadeus IT Group, S.A.AMS.MC2019-11-07Information TechnologyMadrid17109
Enel SpAENEL.MI2019-11-07UtilitiesRome68842
Allianz SEALV.DE2019-11-08InsuranceMunich142460
Vodafone Group PlcVOD.L2019-11-12TelecomNewbury94442
Deutsche Post AGDPW.DE2019-11-12Shipping & LogisticsBonn540779
E.ON SEEOAN.DE2019-11-13UtilitiesEssen44152
National Grid plcNG.L2019-11-14UtilitiesLondon22576
Industria de Diseno Textil, S.A.ITX.MC2019-12-11Apparel StoresA Coruna167897

Reuters – More pain for Europe Inc as earnings drought seen spilling over into 2020

Reuters – Europe third-quarter earnings outlook deteriorates as trade war, Brexit bite

Costco comparable store sales miss estimates

Costco [COST] issued a press release on their quarterly results after markets closed.

Quarterly results

Comparable store sales missed estimates and the growth is slowing down in all segments. The US segment represents three quarters of the overall revenue.

Comparison with peers

Costco has very low gross margins relative to its peers, and despite its low SG&A it has low single digit operating margins.

Gross margin for various discount stores
SG&A for various discount stores
Operating margin for various discount stores

The beauty of Costco however is their assets turnover of approximately 350%, which is only rivaled by Kroger [KR]

Kroger however has a much higher equity multiplier than Costco and a much lower interest coverage, which makes Costco a more attractive company than Kroger to invest in, when not taking into account valuation.

Equity multiplier for various discount stores
Interest coverage for various discount stores


The share price of Costco has over the past 10 years gone up by more than 600% along with those of Dollar General [DG] and Dollar Tree [DLTR].

During that time all three have grown revenue by 200% or more; DLTR even more as a consequence of their acquisition of Family Dollar in 2015.

At a forward P/E of 33.8 Costco is richly valued and the quarterly earnings probably do not justify such lavish multiples. Below a plot of the enterprise value over the operating income as a time series, which shows the expansion of multiples for Costco in particular over the past 10 years. Costco is a wonderful business, but it’s probably too expensive at current levels despite their recent launch in China. If it is indeed priced to perfection, then missing on comparable store sales could have negative consequences for the stock price, when the markets open.

Media coverage

Reuters – Costco quarterly sales miss estimates amid fierce competition

Bloomberg – Costco’s Profit Falls Just Short of Investors’ High Expectations

Constellation Brands takes a hit from Canopy Growth

Constellations Brands issued a press release on its quarterly results before markets opened.

Canopy equity loss

All segments performed well in terms of both shipment volume, revenue and profit.

But due to continued Canopy equity losses Constellation Brands yet again reported negative earnings for the quarter. The announcement of a positively revised outlook in terms of operating earnings was overshadowed by this.

Constellation’s share of Canopy Growth’s equity losses and related activities for second quarter fiscal 2020 totaled a loss of $484.4 million, including the impact from the June 2019 warrant modification, on a reported basis and a loss of $54.7 million on a comparable basis. Constellation has recognized a $757 million unrealized net gain in reported basis results since initial Canopy investment in November 2017; $839 million decrease in the fair value of Canopy investments was recognized for second quarter fiscal 2020.


At a forward P/E just above 20 it is not particularly attractively priced. Like distillers Brown Forman [BF-B] and Diageo [DEO] it is somewhat overpriced. An alternative investment could be AB InBev [BUD], which is somewhat more attractively valued compared to smaller brewery rivals Heineken [HEAIS.AS], Carlsberg [CARL-B.CO], Molson Coors [TAP], The Boston Beer Company [SAM] and Constellation Brands. AB InBev just like Constellation Brands have better operating margins than most competitors.

Wineries & Distilleries
Wineries & Distilleries


Nightly Business Report – October 3, 2019

Reuters – Corona maker Constellation hit by pot investment loss; shares drop