Top US stocks to watch before the bell: Wendy’s, Tesla and EA
Joshua Warner May 12, 2021 1:14 PM
Wendy’s ups expectations as it welcomes back customers, Tesla poised to enter renewable credit market, EA is confident demand for gaming will hold up, General Motors faces an investigation in Mexico, and Toyota is confident it can bounce back this year.
Burger outlet Wendy’s reported strong growth in revenue and earnings during the first quarter as it started to welcome back customers and raised its outlook for the full year.
The company said global systemwide sales were up 12.5% in the quarter, while same store sales jumped 13%. The US performed better than its international arm, but both reported strong rates of growth. That was well ahead of the 9.8% growth forecast by analysts.
Wendy’s said it now expects to report adjusted earnings of between $0.72 and $0.74 per share this year and for systemwide sales to grow by 8% to 10%. That compares to its previous forecast for 6% to 8% revenue growth and earnings of $0.67 to $0.69.
Electric carmaker Tesla is reported to be preparing to enter the US renewable fuel credit market, according to Reuters.
The company is thought to be one of at least eight companies that have a pending application at the Environmental Protection Agency for renewable credits. Currently, the market is dominated by ethanol producers, so an entry by Tesla could shake things up. Tesla’s application is thought to be tied to electricity generated using biogas.
Video games maker EA beat expectations in the first quarter and said it expects growth this year to be driven by demand for newly released titles like Fifa 21 and Apex Legends, which is expected to hold up even as lockdown rules are eased.
The company said net revenue was broadly flat year-on-year in the 12 months to the end of March at $1.34 billion and that net income plunged to just $76 million from $418 million. It said it expects to deliver annual adjusted revenue of around $7.3 billion, which was ahead of the $6.6 billion expected by analysts.
‘Looking forward, the momentum in our existing live services provides a solid foundation for FY22. Combined with a new Battlefield and our recent acquisitions, we expect net bookings growth in the high teens,’ said chief financial and operating officer Blake Jorgensen.
Advisors to the US Centre for Disease Control & Prevention are meeting today to discuss whether the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech should be recommended for use in children aged between 12 and 15.
The advisors make recommendations to the CDC, which then is expected to swiftly make a final decision. Notably, the US Food & Drug Administration gave the green light for the jab to be used in the age group earlier this week.
The US government has asked Mexico to investigate allegations of labour rights violations at a General Motors factory producing pickup trucks in the country which, if proven true, could lead to tariffs being slapped on the carmaker’s vehicles.
Officials have received information that indicates ‘serious violations’ occurred when employees voted on a new union contract in April. Mexico has already said there were ‘serious irregularities’ with the vote and ordered a new one be held.
The matter could lead to tariffs being imposed on some of General Motors most profitable vehicles under the new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
Alphabet’s Waymo unit has applied for a permit that would allow it to start charging for trips and deliveries made in self-driving cars in the state of San Francisco, according to Reuters.
Waymo’s rival, Cruise, which is backed by the likes of General Motors and Honda, has also applied for a permit but neither company has outlined when they intend to launch such services. However, reports suggest Waymo intends to start out with cars operated by drivers while Cruise is expected to waste no time and start with driverless vehicles.
Both applications are under review.
Uber and Lyft
Regulators in California are calling for virtually all trips that happen via ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft should be made in electric vehicles by the end of this decade, a move that both companies are pushing back against.
Regulators have put forward proposals for 90% of all ride-hailing vehicle journeys should be made in an electric vehicle by 2030. The proposals will be voted on May 20 are expected to pass.
Notably, although both Uber and Lyft have committed to turning their fleets electric before 2030, they are still pushing back against the proposals because they want more subsidies to help them do it and argue US taxpayers should burden more of the cost.
Toyota said it is confident it can bounce back this year by delivering strong growth in revenue and profits as it published its annual results and launched a new $2.3 billion share buyback.
Revenue was down 8.9% to JPY27,214 billion in the year, while pretax profit rose 5% to JPY2,932 billion. However, Toyota expects to bounce back strongly this year and is aiming for revenue o rise over 10% to JPY30,000 billion in the new financial year and for pretax profit to rise another 6.1% to JPY3,110 billion.
Toyota also upped its target for electric vehicle production going forward.
Wix.com, the company that helps people and business set up quick and easy websites, beat expectations in the first quarter as more small businesses shift online during the pandemic to keep serving their customers.
The company said revenue jumped 41% in the period to $304.1 million, ahead of the $295.2 million expected by analysts. Its adjusted loss per share of $0.54 ballooned from just a $0.01 loss the year before, but came in smaller than the $0.66 loss forecast by Wall Street.
Wix raised its outlook for the rest of 2021 and said revenue will now between $1.28 billion and $1.29 billion rather than its previous range of $1.27 billion and $1.28 billion. Revenue in the second quarter should come in between $308 million and $312 million, up 30% to 32% year-on-year.
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