3 Big Tech Companies About to Report Earnings

By Daniel Sparks Markets Fool.com

Earnings season is well under way, and some big tech names are up next. In the coming days, investors will watch Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL)(NASDAQ: GOOG), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) report results for their most recently ended quarters. With market capitalizations in the hundreds of billions of dollars, investors all over the world will be watching closely. Ahead of their earnings releases, here's a brief overview of some keys areas to watch.

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Image source: Getty Images.

Alphabet: How about that new Google-branded hardware?

With its fourth quarter including the launch of some important new Google-branded hardware, investors should look for an update from management on how the products performed during the quarter. In October, Alphabet launched its Google Pixel smartphone and a Google Home voice-activated smart speaker. Yes, the bulk of the company's revenue will still come from its search and advertising business, but a high-performing hardware could signal growth potential.

On average, analysts are expecting Alphabet to report fourth-quarter revenue and non-GAAP EPS of $25.18 billion and 9.64, respectively. These results would be up 18% and 11% compared to the year-ago quarter.

Alphabet reports results after market close on Thursday, Jan. 26.

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Beyond looking to Alphabet's Google-branded hardware and the company's financial results, investors may want to take the time to look at the trajectory of the company's paid clicks and cost per click -- two important metrics for Alphabet's core search business.

iPhone 7. Image source: Apple.

Apple: Will guidance point to growth or decline?

When Apple reports results for its first fiscal quarter of 2017 (or the fourth calendar quarter of 2016), one key area to watch will be the company's guidance. While Apple is expecting its first-quarter revenue to be slightly higher than in the year-ago quarter, ending an unfortunate streak of three quarters of year-over-year declines, it's not clear whether the company can sustain growth throughout fiscal 2017.

Analysts are expecting Apple to report first-quarter revenue and EPS of $77.4 billion and $3.22. This compares to revenue and EPS of $75.9 billion and $3.28 in the year-ago quarter.

Apple reports its financial results after market close on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

To get a closer look at the metrics that will matter when Apple reports first-quarter results, here's a more comprehensive earnings preview.

Facebook: Is revenue growth about to slow?

The key thing for Facebook investors to watch when the world's largest social network reports fourth-quarter results will be the degree to which revenue growth decelerates. Facebook CFO David Wehner has been warning that revenue growth rates are going to begin coming down. Of course, with revenue increasing a whopping 56% year over year in Facebook's third quarter, even a meaningful deceleration in its fourth quarter will still likely represent big growth for the company.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Analysts are looking for Facebook to report revenue and non-GAAP EPS of about $8.49 billion and $1.31, up about 45% and 66%, respectively. Therefore, analysts do expect Facebook's business growth to decelerate, but not too significantly.

Facebook reports fourth-quarter results after market close on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

For a more in-depth overview of what to expect from Facebook's earnings report, check out this earnings preview.

Stay tuned at The Motley Fool for more coverage of these companies throughout earnings season.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel Sparks owns shares of Apple and Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Apple, and Facebook. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2018 $90 calls on Apple and short January 2018 $95 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.