As earnings season ramps up, investors will look to quarterly updates to get the latest information on companies in their portfolios and stocks they're interested in. Two stocks that report results next week that will be particularly interesting to watch this earnings season are streaming-video company Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and maker of minimally invasive surgical robots Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG). Both stocks have absolutely crushed the market recently, with shares of Netflix rising about 90% and Intuitive Surgical climbing 66% in the past 12 months.
Before these two companies report results for their most recently ended quarters, here's a brief overview of what to look for from each.
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For Netflix, analysts expect more of the strong growth the company reported in Q3. On average, analysts expect revenue and earnings per share of $3.28 billion and $0.41, respectively. Highlighting just how bullish analysts are on Netflix's growth trajectory, these figures compare to revenue and earnings per share (EPS) of $2.48 billion and $0.15, respectively, in the year-ago quarter.
But analysts aren't alone in their optimistic outlook for Netflix's revenue and EPS in Q4. Management's own forecast for the quarter is nearly the same, with estimated revenue and EPS pegged at $3.27 billion and $0.41, respectively. This would represent year-over-year growth in these metrics of 32.1% and 173%, respectively.
The most important metric to watch when Netflix reports earnings will be its subscriber growth. In its third quarter, Netflix had guided for 4.4 million net member additions, but actual net member additions came in at 5.3 million. For its fourth quarter, Netflix expects its member growth pace to pick up speed. Management guided for member additions of 6.3 million -- above the 5.3 million it added in Q3, but slightly below the 7.05 million it added in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Intuitive Surgical already previewed its fourth quarter when it announced its fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 preliminary results earlier this month. The company reported unaudited fourth-quarter revenue of $892 million, up 18% year over year. This was driven by a 17% year-over-year increase in procedures, a 13% rise in services revenue, an 18% increase in instruments and accessories revenue, and an impressive 32.5% jump in unit sales of its da Vinci Surgical Systems.
For Intuitive Surgical's fourth-quarter earnings per share, the consensus analyst estimate is for $2.26, up 11.3% from the year-ago quarter.
One key metric to watch when Intuitive Surgical reports its fourth-quarter results will be its gross profit margin. Given the company's stronger-than-expected growth in its fourth quarter, investors should look to see if this provides leverage for the company's gross profit. In Intuitive Surgical's fourth quarter, gross margin was 70.3%, up from 69.8% in the second quarter of 2017. Can Intuitive Surgical's gross profit margin post another quarter of meaningful sequential growth?
Investors may also want to look for some commentary from management on its upbeat guidance for procedure growth in 2018. In its preliminary fourth-quarter results, management said it expects da Vinci procedures in 2018 to increase 11% to 15%. Considering the company's tendency to under promise and over deliver on its procedure-growth guidance, this is a particularly bullish outlook.
Netflix reports its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 22, and Intuitive Surgical reports its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 25.
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