3 Things to Watch in the Stock Market This Week

3 Things to Watch in the Stock Market This Week

Stocks fell again last week, as both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.05%) and the S&P500 (^GSPC 1.05%) shed roughly 2%. Investors have had a tough year so far, with the indexes down 15% and 20% so far in 2022, respectively.

Earnings reports continue to help Wall Street judge whether consumer spending is slowing right now, and here we’ll look at a few key announcements on the way, from Levi Strauss (LEVI -1.90%), PriceSmart (GMTP 1.84%)and WD-40 (WDFC -0.79%).

1. Levi Strauss’ inventory

Investors have a few big questions heading into Levi Strauss’ upcoming report. The jeans specialist is expected to post a 10% Q2 sales increase on Thursday, marking solid growth compared to pre-pandemic days but a slowdown compared with last quarter’s 22% increase.

The big question is whether demand is holding up well even as inflation eats into consumers’ purchasing power. Nike noted this week that shoppers are still eager to pay up for innovative and fashionable apparel, and so Levi might ease investors’ worries by showing strong sales results.

Inventory levels will be key to watch, as no company wants to be caught with excess products that need to be marked down as demand slows. An inventory spike might be especially worrying if it is paired with falling gross profit margins. That’s why Wall Street will be watching these two metrics closely on Thursday afternoon.

2. WD-40’s profit margin

WD-40 will announce its latest operating results on Thursday afternoon. That report might show continued strong demand for its wide range of maintenance and cleaning products. Sales jumped 16% in the prior quarter, which ended in late February, after all .

This time around, most investors who follow the stock are looking for sales to rise 4% for fiscal Q3, which would still mark a huge increase compared to the pre-pandemic period. WD-40 entered the period with improving supply chain and manufacturing efficiencies, which should help it offset some of the cost spikes it has seen.

Management is hoping to get gross profit margin back above 55% of sales over time. We’ll see this week whether WD-40 is taking a step in that direction, or if instead that core profitability mark is still falling after it dropped to 51% of sales last quarter.

3. PriceSmart’s renewal rate

Investors have modestly high expectations heading into PriceSmart’s upcoming earnings report. The international warehouse retailer, which is the market share leader in Central America and the Caribbean, notched a sharp 10% comparable-store sales increase at its last quarterly outing in early April.

Revenue crossed $1 billion for the first time, and earnings expanded nicely, too. “I am proud of our team’s results despite facing and solving for supply chain issues,” CEO Sherry Bahrambeygui said in a press release.

This week’s announcement will show whether that positive momentum continued into the sales months of March, April, and May. Keep an eye on PriceSmart’s renewal rate for signs that the business is winning a stronger market share position. That key rate hit a record 90% last quarter, which isn’t far from Costco‘s industry-leading rate in its most mature market.

Another good result on this metric should have investors celebrating this week, as it would imply a long runway for growth ahead for this consumer staples business.

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