Next earnings season test after Netflix? Microsoft

The Netflix (NFLX) drop yesterday (14.27%) and today (5.24%, which actually showed a recovery from the after-hours tumble) on the company’s disappointing guidance for the third quarter says that we’re still on track for a test of the earnings rally. But the test has become a bit more focused after the Netflix news. While that individual stock dropped on the disappointment, the market as a whole crept higher with the Standard & Poor’s 500 up 0.4% today.

The more focused test has now become, Does the market treat any miss as limited to the individual stock (as it has with Netflix) or does it begin to generalize any disappointment in the third quarter to the market as a whole?

The next test of that question comes on Thursday, July 19, when Microsoft (MSFT) reports. Wall Street is looking for earnings of $1.08 a share and revenue of $29.23 billion. And traders and investors have been bidding up the stock on a belief that the company will not only match those numbers. The unofficial whisper number on earnings is $1.12 a share as of today, July 17. In it’s last earnings report for the March 2018 quarter (the fiscal third quarter for the company) Microsoft beat the official consensus estimate by 10 cents a share.

Microsoft shares hit a new all-time higher today at $106.50 before pulling back slightly to close at $105.95, up 0.99% on the day.

Microsoft wasn’t alone in its performance. Alphabet (GOOG) and and Facebook (FB) also hit all-time highs as did the NASDAQ 100 (QQQ) index. Alphabet reports earnings on July 23 and Facebook reports on July 25.

Hitting an all-time high obviously is a mark of a stock’s positive momentum, but it does suggest that the stock is priced for perfection and opens the possibility for a drop on any disappointment.