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3 Things to Watch in the Stock Market This Week | The Motley Fool

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Stocks fell last week to close out a rough month for indexes. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) shed over 2.5% in September. Yet stocks are still significantly higher so far in 2021.

Earnings season continues with a flood of fresh earnings reports over the next few trading days. Let’s take a closer look at a few highly anticipated announcements from this list, by PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP), Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), and Levi Strauss (NYSE:LEVI).

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PepsiCo’s profit margin

PepsiCo has some big questions to answer for investors in its Tuesday earnings report. The stock has trailed the market over the past year thanks to concerns about an impending growth slowdown and weaker earnings growth.

The beverage and snack-food giant showed no signs of those issues in its last announcement. In fact, CEO Ramon Laguarta and his team boosted their outlook on both the top and bottom lines back in July.

Heading into the second half of 2021, the growth comparisons get harder against booming demand a year ago. Pepsi also faces major cost spikes it will have to pass along to consumers.

Still, the business is likely to show steady market share gains even as it invests aggressively in the supply chain. That spending should lay the foundation for higher earnings, and solid shareholder returns, over the long term.

Constellation Brands’ new outlook

Investors are nervous heading into the Wednesday earnings announcement from alcoholic beverage giant Constellation Brands. That concern stems partly from signs of a sharp slowdown in the hard seltzer niche that caused Boston Beer to pull back its 2021 growth outlook. Constellation Brands’ Corona-branded push into the niche might see a similar downgrade this week.

The company is also still working through the impact of its portfolio restructuring initiative, which is still pressuring earnings and growth. While the beer business has been booming, the news hasn’t been nearly as good in its wine and spirits division.

Look for executives to outline their detailed rebound plan for that segment now that the portfolio is steady. Yet the stock’s movement will likely depend on management’s updated comments about the full-year outlook. Heading into the announcement, Constellation Brands is predicting nearly 10% sales growth in the core beer segment as earnings land somewhere between $10 per share and $10.30 per share.

Levi’s supply chain update

Levi Strauss trounced Wall Street’s expectations in its last quarterly outing, and we’ll soon find out if those happy trends continued into the fiscal third quarter. The jeans apparel specialist announces those updated metrics on Wednesday afternoon.

Investors already know that the selling environment has been strong, with demand tilting toward the premium side of the apparel industry. Yet several peers have described major inventory challenges thanks to historic shipping delays and soaring transportation costs. Its likely that Levi struggled with some of these issues over the late summer.

The big question is whether those issues are big enough to derail management’s steadily rising 2021 outlook. That forecast calls for revenue to rise by between 28% and 29% in the second half of the year, up from the prior prediction range of between 24% and 25%. Another strong sales period might convince executives to lift that outlook for a third consecutive time on Wednesday.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.





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